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Singapore business groups urge Govt caution on possible changes to worker transportation regulations

Singapore business associations have expressed concerns over calls to ban the transportation of workers on lorries. The groups, in a collective response, urge ‘careful consideration’ and ‘responsible engagement’ as they highlight potential industry impacts and practical complexities.

The statement was issued in response to intensified demands for improved safety standards following recent lorry accidents.”



SINGAPORE: Over 20 business associations, including the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, and entities under the Specialist Trade Alliance of Singapore, such as the Micro Builders Association and the Singapore Plumbing Society, have expressed concerns over potential regulatory changes regarding the transportation of workers on lorries.

This cautionary note comes in the wake of accidents involving lorries on July 18 and 19 that resulted in injuries to 37 individuals, including migrant workers. The mishaps have reignited public and civil society calls for improvements in safety standards.

In a joint statement delivered on 1 August to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Acting Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat, and Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor, the business groups pointed out the complexities in transitioning from lorry-based transportation of workers.

While many large companies have ceased this practice, the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) still face “real, practical and operational complexities”.

The statement highlighted that potential regulatory changes, such as a ban on transporting workers via lorries, could have substantial impacts on sectors traditionally reliant on this practice. The potential for project delays and jeopardized livelihoods of workers was underscored.

Additionally, the business groups pointed out the various factors including “geographic constraints, limited infrastructure, and economic realities that certain regions and industries face” that have necessitated the use of lorries to transport workers.

The statement warned of possible societal consequences such as increased traffic, commuter congestion, and infrastructure delays as workers transition to other modes of transportation, including public transport.

Despite this, the groups acknowledged the urgency of addressing worker safety and committed to finding effective solutions, expressing the aim to “create a future where worker safety is never compromised, and all stakeholders can thrive.”

The collective response from the business groups was elicited by public calls for the outright ban of lorries to transport workers and making it mandatory for passenger vehicles to have seats and seat belts.

These demands were led by over 40 organizations and individuals, including migrant worker welfare groups, in a joint statement to PM Lee, Mr Chee and Dr Khor, following the aforementioned lorry accidents in July.

26 taken to hospital after three-lorry pile-up on Kranji Expressway on 18 July

In a separate joint statement on 26 July, a coalition of 57 local civil society organizations and community groups criticized the government’s response to the situation, accusing it of “feeble steps” and distraction tactics.

The coalition emphasized that lorries, not designed for human transport, pose safety risks and compromise the dignity of the workers. They have urged the government to reallocate a portion of the foreign worker levy, which amounted to at least S$1.1 billion dollars in 2020, to assist smaller companies transitioning to safer transport options.

The statement decried the government’s approach, stating that instead of addressing the issue with the necessary seriousness and urgency, they engaged in handwringing and theatrics.

“We have no choice but to conclude that they simply do not care about workers’ lives, or the real, acute pain that injured workers and grieving families thousands of miles away experience every year because of our unconscionable choices.”

Alarming statistics reveal that between 2011 and 2020, 58 workers lost their lives and another 4,765 were injured while being transported on lorries.

The joint statement concluded by insisting that the safety and dignity of migrant workers should not be compromised for the sake of business profits.

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Since the past decades, we the people already know employers are the real masters at the backstage while Sgov is the master on stage.
The Sgov will listen to its master when come to money, because all these businessmen feed Sgov. People here cannot change for the betterment of mankind and our country, when Sgov is in cahoot with the businessmen….lol.

Money 1st Money 2nd Money 3rd Money 4th Gov has provided the light that money is good. Gov members sue for money Gov remake institutions to earn money for profit ( Healthcare, Electricity,Water,COE,etc) Gov sells land for profits Gov raise salaries for their members Gov raise GST You need to earn a certain amount of money in order to qualify for vouchers, assistance. You need to earn a certain amount of money to rent B&W bungalows You need money deposit to run for Elections Everything is money in Singapore And President can say we must be caring and empathetic to… Read more »