SINGAPORE — The punishment framework for employers who illegally deploy their foreign domestic workers will be reviewed, said Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang in Parliament on Monday (5 October).
“In light of the particular vulnerability of foreign domestic workers, we will review our punishment framework and action will be taken against employers in similar illegal deployment cases, regardless of whether they are aware of the illegal deployment,” she said.
“This is to remind the employers that they are ultimately accountable for their foreign domestic workers and should take steps to ensure that their households deployment of the foreign domestic workers do not contravene the law.”
Gan was referring to questions raise by fellow Members of Parliament regarding the case of Parti Liyani, an Indonesian foreign domestic worker who was recently acquitted by the High Court after she was previously convicted of theft and possession of stolen items belonging to her employer, Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong.
Parti, now 46, had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in 2016 for being made to work outside of Liew’s home – specifically at the home of Liew’s son Karl and at Karl’s office. The Liews subsequently filed a police report accusing her of stealing more than $50,000 of items from their household.
Gan noted that in May 2018, following the conclusion of MOM’s investigations into the complaint, the ministry – in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers – decided to not take any further actions against Liew, while a caution was issued to his wife and an advisory notice was served upon Karl.
She noted that these actions were “in line with the actions taken by the ministry against similar cases in the past.
“There is a review ongoing for this particular case regarding Parti Liyani’s illegal deployment arising from the High Court's observations. MOM will give an update when the review is completed in due course,” said Gan.
She also reiterated MOM’s findings that, between 2017 and 2019, there had been an average of 550 complaints per year regarding the illegal deployment of foreign domestic workers by their employers or household members.
Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng asked if MOM could require the documented consent of foreign domestic workers to be obtained if they are to be deployed outside of their employment address. Gan said in reply that employers are currently required to inform MOM if they intend to deploy a foreign domestic worker to an address different from what is stated in their work permit.
“We are considering ways to enable employers to be able to notify MOM more effectively so that we can track and approve such cases, more consistently,” she added.
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