OPINION: Time for Chinese-led Singapore to review how it treats foreign workers? - Siva Sankar


DNAIndia.com, 14 Dec 2013
While it is no one’s case to condone Sunday’s violence, Singapore would do well not to treat the incident as an aberration, and not be dismissive about the larger sociological implications. It would be wrong to ignore the underlying simmering resentment and frustrations of Singapore’s imported labourers. It is Singapore’s worst-kept secret that most of the lowly jobs (housemaids, construction workers, garbage removal and sewer maintenance personnel, so on) are performed by non-Chinese immigrants from South/Southeast Asia. Stories of worker abuse, intimidation and exploitation are aplenty: employers lodge thousands of imported workers in poorly provided cubbyholes, subject them to long work hours and confiscate their passports during the contract tenures.
It is a plight that global media can relate to — Singapore’s heavy-handed approach in dealing with media outlets that publish content critical of the local regime is well-documented. Perhaps, Black Sunday is a wake-up call. Singapore’s sovereign funds like the GIC and Temasek Holdings rake in billions through largely undisclosed corporate and financial market investments globally, including in India. Full story
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