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Dormitory operator KT Mesdorm was convicted in Singapore’s State Courts for aiding three companies to breach a work pass condition by housing foreign workers in overcrowded accommodation at the Blue Stars Dormitory it operates.
In so doing, KT Mesdorm had contravened the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, pleading guilty to all 30 charges, and fined S$300,000. This is the first dormitory operator prosecuted and convicted in Court.
Blue Stars Dormitory is allowed to to house up to 4,500 workers, based on written permission given by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
A joint inspection by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) found 5,098 bed spaces with 5,042 foreign workers residing, way above the approved occupancy limit of 4,500.
This is resulted in overcrowded, unsanitary and unhygienic living conditions (photos), compromising the health of the residing workers.
Following the inspection, KT Mesdorm has taken steps to rectify the issue and improve living conditions.
Commenting on the case, Jeanette Har, director of well-being department of MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said: “Employers who house their workers in purpose-built dormitories expect dormitory operators to adhere to all regulatory requirements.
“We will continue to step up housing inspections and take stern action where appropriate.”
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations, offenders face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months for each offence.
Members of the public who know of persons or employers who contravene the EFMA should report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122 or e-mail email@example.com.
Image: Annexure A by MOM