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2 Oct 2023

Singapore: Reports highlight lack of accessible transport for migrant workers in remote accommodation; incl. co. comment

Recent reports have highlighted the plight of migrant workers in Singapore, as workers living in accommodation at a distance from their workplace have been forced to use illegal transportation in one instance, and travel significant distances only to wait for a long commute in another.

The Straits Times reports workers living in dormitory accommodation along Kanji Way are using an illegal service provided by lorry drivers due to a lack of bus services in their area. While some employers provide transportation, others do not or only provide it on working days while one transport business owner said costs for providing transport on off days should be included in project tenders.

A similar issue has been highlighted by NGO Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2). Vice President Alex Au said workers are enduring long waits for shuttle buses to take them to the nearest public transport, 5km away from their accommodation. Au highlighted a particular dormitory along Tanah Merah Coast Road which lacked medical facilities and is at a significant distance from public transport networks. He said Singaporeans would not be housed in similar accommodation. The dormitory has been the object of complaints from migrant workers for "months". The dormitory is reportedly operated by Changi East Dorm Dwall, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huationg Global.

In comments reported in Today Online, the dormitory operator said queues for use of shuttle buses from the accommodation were comparable to Singaporeans going to work at peak times, that there is a procedure in place if workers fall ill and that the dormitory is "spacious with full facilities".

“The dormitory operator or the employers who choose to put their workers there should bear the cost of making life easier for the men. The workers themselves should not have to bear the cost of others' mistakes, by having to walk in a hot sun, wasting time waiting for the bus, or paying for the shuttle ride”
Alex Au, VP TWC2