Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has urged Singapore to treat its sizeable population of indispensable migrant workers like human beings and not as livestock.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that these low-wage migrant workers should have same health-care, laws, personal freedoms, protection, rights, unionizing privileges, etc., as other Singaporeans; instead of being reportedly segregated inhumanely in unsanitary cramped dormitories and ferried like cattle on the back of cargo trucks.
It seemed like xenophobia by a flourishing global financial hub Singapore, whose trade-driven economy was deeply supported by foreign workforce. These low-wage migrant workers made important contributions to the nation and the society by building apartments, bridges, critical infrastructure, highways, offices, public housing, skyscrapers, etc.; many times performing intrinsically dangerous and physically challenging jobs which many Singaporeans regarded as dirty and were uninterested to undertake; Rajan Zed indicated.
A study by the Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank at National University of Singapore, published on September 23 and titled “Understanding Singaporeans’ National Pride and Identity”, ranked treatment of migrant workers towards the bottom of the “Ranked sources of pride” (at 23rd position out of total 24). It received 2.96 on a 5-point scale (1 = not proud at all, 5 = very proud). “In general, respondents were not very proud of Singapore’s treatment of migrant workers, with only 34.0 per cent being proud or very proud’, it stated.
Zed urged Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to seriously look into the issue of maltreatment of migrant workers and create a roadmap leading to their permanent residency and ultimately citizenship; thus ending the abuse, exploitation and injustice reportedly faced by them regularly.
Rajan Zed further says that we are well into the 21st century now and Singapore needs to wake-up, dump its reportedly dehumanizing-disgraceful-utilitarian outlook towards migrant workers, embracing and uplifting them from the stigmatized underclass status, and seeing them as valuable people and not as a numeral in an electronic document. Singapore’s heartbreaking neglect of the migrant workers is highly disappointing.