5 stories of work permit foreign workers in Singapore 

I refer to the article “Searching for the good life, miles from home” (Channel NewsAsia, Dec 5).

Gave up citizenship due medical costs?

It states that “When Mr Muthusamy secured his Singapore citizenship in 1974, he brought his family to join him in Singapore. They lived in a flat at Jalan Minyak in Bukit Merah that cost S$200 a month to rent. After PUB, Mr Muthusamy took up temporary cleaning jobs.

In 2007, his wife discovered that she had breast cancer, and her medical treatment, which cost about S$14,000, put a financial strain on the family. Five years later, Mr Muthusamy himself had to undergo bypass surgery — and it was then that he decided to give up his Singapore citizenship after 38 years.

The whole family reluctantly moved back to their village in Alangottai and relied on his Central Provident Fund savings to get by.”

The above may be indicative of how unaffordable healthcare may have become in Singapore.

Isn’t it sad that a foreigner who became a citizen in 1974, had to give up his citizenship due to medical costs?

No mention of high agent’s fees?

As to the other four stories of foreign workers – why is there no mention as to the large sum of fees that foreign workers have to pay their agents in order to come to Singapore?

These fees are typically as much as $8,000 which can take many months to pay off from deductions of their salary.

What about the numerous foreign workers who have to leave after just two years of their contract, with little earnings after paying off the agent’s fees?

Strangely, only two of the workers’ salaries were mentioned – $1,400 for the construction worker and $1,300 for the maintenance worker.

The other two – domestic worker and cleaner – did not mention their salary. Is it because their typical salary may only be about $500 and $800, respectively?

Work permit holders becoming PRs/citizens?

Moreover, it is almost impossible now for foreign workers on work permits to be able to get permanent residency or citizenship in Singapore.

So much for “this month, Singapore will commemorate Foreign Domestic Workers’ Day and International Migrants Day”.


Leong Sze Hian

A.S.S. Contributor

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