Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Deportation Own Goal

As the Singapore government announced that they will deport 29 of the Chinese bus drivers involved in the strike last week, I’m struck by one thing; the amazing own goals scored by our government ministers.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said on Saturday that “the workers broke Singapore law”, but also say SMRT "could have done better”. Frankly, I think government ministers need to stop saying things like that. You know what does that statement tells people? It tells them that the strikers' demands are valid.

The Chinese bus drivers complaints of poor pay and lousy living conditions seem to be valid because even the Singapore government are chiding SMRT for “poor labor practices”. If that is the case, people will ask why are they still deporting and jailing the drivers?

That is a question Singapore will not be able to answer to people’s satisfaction. And no; saying the workers broke the law by having an “illegal strike” is not going to cut it. Not helping matters is the fact that the quickness of actions against the Chinese workers is not matched by actions taken against SMRT. I mean if the workers’ complaints are valid (and the government admits that they are), shouldn’t they be the wronged party here? In return, we are deporting the workers back to China and the SMRT got…nothing!

No fines or actions has been taken against SMRT and most probably, none will ever be taken. Most people would acknowledge the unfairness of this and the fact that SMRT is a government-linked company will only compound the problem. If the government is going to deport the bus drivers for reasons even they admit are valid, then they need to do so quietly. If not, deporting the bus drivers will only do more harm than good to Singapore.


Anonymous said...

Punishment for SMRT - how do spell that?

Wonder why no press has been allowed to talk to these wicked, selfish, law-breaking drivers, so we can hear their side of the story?

Don't you just love Desmond's concerned and caring face when he visited the drivers in their insect infested dormitories, and then his firm, slightly smug look when he announced that the drivers' work conditions will Not be changing?

Anonymous said...

Speaks volumes about meritocracy in Singapore. It's more like "membership has its privileges".

Ghost said...

Actually he never visited the dorm in question. He visited a worker's dorm in Serangoon. The strike happened in a dorm at Woodlands.

Anonymous said...

@Ghost 4 Dec 0757h: "Actually he never visited the dorm in question. He visited a worker's dorm in Serangoon. The strike happened in a dorm at Woodlands.

Ahhh... so sharp of you. I must improve my reading skills. Thank-you!

Anonymous said...

no no no.. you are wrong. cos you are arguing and looking at the issue on a moral perspective.

we should look at the issue technically and legally.

the workers went on strike - according to law, that is illegal.

the company paid their workers poorly and treated them like money making machines or even animals - according to law, that is legal. end of story.

if the law says that the companies are allowed to buy workers into slavery, then companies are right. they shld do that.

Anonymous said...

The general was being 'tactical' when he visited a dorm at another place other than THE place under controversy, so that he can honestly said he visited the dorm and saw NOTHING of the problems complained about.

He was also being tactical since one can never tell what RECEPTION would he get from the striking drivers when he went to the ACTUAL GROUND ZERO.

Remember these are Communist Chinese workers, capable of anything, going by the news from their motherland. What about police protection during his visit? Can you imagine the adverse public image of the SPF providing protection for an ex-army general!

Anonymous said...

Our PAP Ministers by their unjust actions are in fact beginning to sow the seeds of hatred in our new immigrants from PRC. Slowly and surely they will begin to see the true colours and greed of our PAP Ministers.

If your fellow comrades are being exploited as if they don't have any rights, whose side do you think they will emphathise with ?

Come to a certain point, new immigrants will grow to hate our PAP Govt leades just like what most Singaporeans are beginning to realise all the shit they are getting from our Ministers.

Ghost said...

I think you guys have too high of an opinion of Singapore. Most foreign workers come to Singapore for the money, nothing else. There will be no hatred for Singapore because they don't care about Singapore outside the money they will make here. The most is that foreign workers will avoid coming to Singapore like the plague.