Asia

Operator of foreign worker dorms fined $118,000 after some rooms found to be filthy

SINGAPORE – Labourtel Management Corporation, a company that runs foreign worker dormitories, was fined $118,000 on Friday (Sept 18) after the authorities inspected four of them and found that some rooms were filthy.

During the inspections in 2018 and last year, two of the facilities were also found to have problems, including damaged lights, faulty lockers and a damaged toilet bowl.

Parvis Ahmed Mohamed Ghouse, 43, a director at Labourtel at the time of the checks, was fined $59,000 on Friday. He will have to spend 195 days behind bars if he cannot pay the amount.

One of its officers, Shaik Mohamed Mohamed Abdul Jaleel, 34, was fined $22,000. He will be jailed for 73 days if he fails to pay the fine.

Labourtel Management Corporation, which is part of property and logistics solutions company MES Group, and the two Singaporeans pleaded guilty in March to charges under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act.

They were the first ones to be convicted under the Act, which took effect in January 2016.

Two of the company’s facilities, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1 and 2, are located in Penjuru Place, near West Coast Road.

The other two are Blue Stars Dormitory in Kian Teck Lane, near Boon Lay Way, and The Leo in Kaki Bukit Road 3.

Labourtel, which was convicted of seven charges, had failed to fully comply with licensing conditions and improve the dormitories despite being advised by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) after earlier inspections.

As part of the conditions, the licensee must maintain cleanliness at the dormitories. It must also keep the interior and exterior of all buildings – such as doors, windows and sanitary appliances – in good condition.

Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1 was inspected in May 2018, and 27 rooms were found to be filthy with greasy cooking areas, among other issues.

Similar problems were also found at the three other dormitories in other inspections later in 2018 and last year.

Parvis was convicted of four charges under the Act. His role was to oversee the daily operations of Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1 and 2 as well as the Blue Stars Dormitory.

He was also responsible for the manpower, security, cleaning, maintenance and equipment procurement for all three facilities.

He had also neglected his duties to rectify the non-compliance of the licensing conditions.

Shaik, whose role was to take charge of the signing of tenancy agreements between Labourtel and the various employers of the foreign workers staying at Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1, pleaded guilty in March to one charge under the Act.

He had breached the licensing conditions on the permitted number of occupants in the dormitory.

The court heard that during an inspection on May 31, 2018, officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) found that two parts of the dormitory had more people than allowed. For instance, the fifth level of Block 56 allowed 252 occupants. However, the number of contracted tenants there, based on tenancy agreements, was 268.

The SCDF also found 304 beds there.

The company could have been fined up to $50,000 for each charge.

For each charge, the men could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $50,000.

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