Injured and left to die in a back alley
Are we disregarding the lives of foreign workers?
A man was sentenced to jail for six months after dumping one of his dying workers on the pavement, instead of taking him to the hospital. Much controversy arose regarding the case, with some people feeling the loss of life should warrant a harsher sentence.
What’s going on?
On Sep 27, 2011, freelance rope access consultant Muhammad Hidayat Abdul Rahman, 41, hired two freelance workers to carry out painting works at Vivocity. When one of those workers fell off the bridge whilst working later that day, Hidayat and his brother drove him around for 15 minutes and dumped him in a back alley at Upper Circular Road instead of rushing him to the hospital.
Hidayat claimed he had instructed his brother Azhar, who was supervising the workers at the time of the incident, not to let them work due to their insobriety. However, Azhar did not stop the workers from proceeding.
Hidayat’s lawyer, Remesha Pillai, explained that Hidayat did not rush the worker to the hospital because he was in a state of panic and was not thinking rationally or reasonably.
People weighed in with their views on Facebook, and most of them agreed that a six month sentence was inequitable for the loss of a life.
Colin Chua, a 23-year-old an engineering student at National Technological University, agrees that the original sentence might be too lenient.
“It’s only right that we protect these foreign workers, especially since they’re doing the jobs we don’t want to do. They’re not even getting minimum wage. The punishment shouldn’t be so lenient for any employers [who] contribute directly to their deaths,” he said.
Some netizens went as far as suggesting the death penalty should have been used.
However, others felt it was too harsh to only blame the person in charge of operations, because the workers were intoxicated while working.
Angela Tan, 20, who works in the food industry, thinks that the dead worker is not without blame. She said: “Nobody should be working while drunk, especially not painters. Even if they were painting on ground level, they would not be able to paint properly while in a drunken state. I think they should have jailed [Hidayat’s] brother instead for not stopping those drunken workers.”
What’s your take?
- Do you think workplace accidents involving foreign workers in Singapore are taken seriously? Why?
- What can be done to raise awareness regarding the plight of foreign workers?