Three Singapore directors and companies fined for worker housing lapses

Their conviction follows a fire incident in 2014 that left four migrant workers dead.

Three Singapore directors and their respective companies have been fined more than S$150,0000 for not complying with housing guidelines.

Ong Lai Kar, director of Essential Clean and Care, Ong Huay Chew, director of Seng Foo Building Construction and Koh Kok Seng, director of Bestway Cleaning Services were convicted for disregarding guidelines set out by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), and they have also been banned from employing foreign workers.

The conviction follows a fire incident at a Lorong 4 Geylang shophouse in 2014, which killed four people. The shophouse had then been home to 22 foreign workers; far exceeding the URA’s then-limit of eight.

"Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations, employers are required to provide accommodation that comply with the various statutory requirements for their foreign workers," said the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, in a statement.

“This incident and the fact that it was entirely preventable, should serve as a sad and stark reminder to all employers that theirs is more than a simple duty to comply with our manpower laws, but in fact a solemn bond to their workers, and to their families, that they will be valued, protected and properly looked after while here in Singapore,” said the Migrant Workers’ Centre, in its’ statement following the conviction.

“We hope the authorities’ stern action will serve as a timely reminder and firm caution to all employers, that the provision of a decent place of rest, free of dangers such as fire hazards, is a basic and core component of their responsibility to their own workers,” it added. 

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