Manpower Minister, Josephine Teo, has moved quickly to address questions over the allegedly poor living conditions at some of the foreign worker dormitories here. Teo acknowledged that there are a lot of improvements to be made but she asked for time to first contain the transmissions within the dormitories.
The task facing Teo is enormous. Teo herself shared that there some 200,000 workers living in about 43 dormitories here. The conditions within them can very from one dormitory to another.
After licensing was required of the dormitory providers, Teo pointed out that conditions were improved. With the introduction of the new licensing requirements, these dormitory owners had to meet sanitation and hygiene standards set by the Ministry.
She tried to pin some blame to the owners themselves, claiming that some of her enforcement officers are met with resistance when they do enforcement checks.
Teo added that some employers were concerned with the potential inpcrease in costs, if such standards are raised.
Teo is missing the point. We are not expecting luxury befitting an expensive country like ours. To be fair, even the workers themselves are realistic. What they want is sanitary and hygienic living conditions that they are able to rest in after a hard day's work.
Teo has promised to look into the matter. The question is, will she deliver?