Minister slams assault of foreign workers

From assault to illegal kickbacks: are we treating our foreign workers properly?

Minister slams assault of foreign workers
The Law and Foreign Affairs Minister has slammed the actions of an 18-year-old who beat up foreign workers to practice his fighting skills.

Last year Daryl Lim Jun Liang and three friends attempted to practice martial arts skills they’d learned by assaulting two smaller foreign workers on two occasions.

Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam labelled Lim’s behaviour as “completely unacceptable” while speaking at the side-lines of an event by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

A district court judge handed Lim a short detention order of 10 days on Monday, placed him on a 12-month day reporting order with tagging and ordered him to perform 150 hours of community service.

"(The foreign workers) have come here and are helping us build our infrastructure,” K. Shanmugam said of Lim’s actions.

“Instead of being grateful to them, and recognising that they're doing a hard job... to help their families, we go and attack them, it's bullying of somebody who's vulnerable.
“It's sickening conduct."

The Minister then also took to Facebook, writing on his page: "I hope that people who think and behave like Daryl are a tiny minority."

The spotlight has come on the treatment of foreign workers in recent months, with both a spate of employers charged for receiving illegal kickbacks and media coverage of the horror stories of food catering for foreign employees.

Earlier this month, the managing director of a construction firm was jailed after a Ministry of Manpower raid revealed he had collected $85,380 in illegal kickbacks from foreign workers.

The case has prompted the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to warn other businesses that it takes a serious view of the illegal practice and will be clamping down on it following a spate of incidents. 

Only a month prior, 45-year-old Singaporean Geng Shuzhen was convicted of three charges of receiving kickbacks, with 18 other charges taken into consideration during sentencing. She was fined a total of $15,000, in default of six weeks’ imprisonment. Last year, 15 employers were convicted of receiving kickbacks.

Meanwhile, last month, there was significant media coverage around foreign workers’ horror stories of rancid, foul-smelling catered food, and gastronomical problems. One catering company even acknowledged to the claims, saying in a statement that the media coverage “highlighted many valid points about the foreign workers catering industry, and the cost and quality implication faced by our clients”.

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