Zika Outbreak : Why Are Migrant Workers Getting Free Screening But Not Residents?


By: B Goode

What have we as a nation done wrong to the migrant workers so much so that they are compensated with benefits that even certain segment of our society don’t get to enjoy? Have we committed a sin so great to the migrant workers that if we don’t indulge them, we will be cursed with new-age biblical plagues such as TB, Dengue and Zika. Oh wait….

No seriously. Let me give you a rundown of what I am talking about.

  1. Migrant workers are now housed in dormitories with mandatory minimum personal space which for all intent and purposes is quite roomy. In contrasts, some big Singaporean families are stuffed into one room and no-room studio apartments with hardly any room to move. Don’t believe me? Go and visit any of the HDB studio apartment blocks and see for yourself.
  2. Migrant workers have free access to water, electricity and cooking gas, while some Singaporean families have their utilities rationed.
  3. Migrant workers are provided with free transport in air-conditioned buses. Those open-top lorries carrying migrant workers that you sometimes see on the roads are actually flouting the law. While we Singaporeans have to pay an ever-increasing fares just to jostle face to armpit to get to and from work.
  4. Migrant workers are provided with big entertainment centres and sports facilities free-of-charge while we have to pay to use the badminton court in the CCs.
  5. Migrant workers can purchase and consume alcohol in their dorms anytime of the day and night while we Singaporeans are expected to be in bed by 10.30pm. They are not supposed to I know but the authorities don’t give a damn.
  6. Migrant workers are given free medical, free insurance, free…I could be in the jam at the causeway and by the time I cleared immigration, the list would still not be completed.

In short, migrant workers enjoy a standard of living that is not only better than back in their home countries, but better than even some Singaporeans.

Oh and the latest which has something to do with the Zika outbreak:

As of Monday, MOH said it completed testing of all workers at the construction site who had symptoms of fever and rash previously. It is also screening workers staying at the dormitories located in the areas of concern.

So the government is providing free screening to migrant workers while residents in the area are only given free….pamphlets.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that migrant workers should be mistreated. But they should not be over-compensated at the expanse of Singaporeans. At the very least, poor and under-privileged Singaporeans should get what the migrant workers are getting.

At the end of the day, migrant workers are not slave labourers. They are not refugees. They came to Singapore to work on their own free will. Yes we should treat them well and look after their welfare but in cases such as Zika screening, the government should also treat Singaporeans equally if not better.

And please don’t use the excuse that migrant workers help to build the nation as if we Singaporeans don’t. As if we Singaporeans do nothing but spent our time in front of the computer bitching incessantly about the government.

Not all Singaporeans are like me.

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