The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is working with employers to explore the possibility of coordinating days off for foreign workers to prevent large congregations at popular areas. This could be done by rotating their days off, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
He reiterated that the MOM will speed up the construction of more workers’ dormitories over the next two to three years — a need that was identified before the riot, he noted.
These dorms will have facilities such as gyms, canteens, television rooms and computer access. Existing dedicated recreation centres at Soon Lee Road, Kaki Bukit, Woodlands and Penjuru already provide remittance services, supermarkets and sports facilities, for example. They also host movie screenings and cultural celebrations, he said.
Still, such recreation spaces cannot “totally replace” popular spots such as Little India, which have “naturally evolved over time to cater to foreign workers’ physical and, importantly, their emotional needs”.
At these areas, the foreign workers catch up on news back home and meet friends and relatives “for a few precious hours”, Mr Tan said.
“This is really not different from any Singaporean worker looking to relax and hang out with friends after a hard week at work. Recreation centres cannot always meet these psychological needs.”