Foreign worker dorm in Singapore

Angry construction firms in Singapore have slammed Manpower Minister Josephine Teo for always giving last minute instructions and expected them to implement overnight.

On April 11, the Manpower Ministry announced that all salaries must be paid electronically. The new law that effected immediately after announcement created an administration nightmare, with companies rushing to gather documents and making several trips to the banks to create accounts for their workers.

Akbar Kader, managing director of Nan Guan Construction, said he is “very frustrated” at the sudden need to create bank accounts, as he had previously relied on cash payments. On that day, the banks were “swamped” with other employers doing the same given the tight deadlines.

On April 13, the Manpower Ministry announced that all meals must be provided by the employers and the workers are to take their temperature twice daily. Companies have to rush to order catering, and many resorted to using Grab food delivery.

An unnamed construction manager said the government lack foresight and their decisions are creating chaos in his company, with meetings being conducted in the middle of the night to meet compliance.

Another construction company had to pay S$100 a day for his workers to live in hotels, after the Manpower Ministry officers deem their living quarters overcrowded. The manager said the company is “bleeding” and if the lockdown continue after May 18, he might go bankrupt.