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Migrant worker required to leave Singapore by 31 May despite being victim of harassment

Despite being confirmed as a victim of harassment, Bangladeshi migrant worker Uddin MD Sharif faces departure from Singapore this Friday. His Special Pass, initially extended to 27 May, was further prolonged to 31 May upon his request, as per MOM and police Tuesday joint statement.



SINGAPORE: Uddin MD Sharif, a Bangladeshi migrant worker and writer, is required to leave Singapore this coming Friday (31 May), despite the conclusion of a police investigation that confirmed Mr Sharif as the victim of harassment by unlicensed moneylenders.

In a video shared by Workers Make Possible (WMP) on Instagram on 23 May, Mr Sharif revealed that the Singapore Police allegedly informed him of the conclusion of their investigations, leading to his impending repatriation to Bangladesh.

Mr Sharif also shared that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) set a departure deadline of 31 May the following day.

According to Sharif, this decision contradicts earlier assurances from authorities that he could stay in Singapore to seek new employment after his investigation concluded.

In his latest video, Sharif said about the police investigations, “I didn’t feel like I was treated as a victim, but as if I had done something wrong,” and noted the questions asked of him, which he found insulting.

He pointed out that while he was given a special pass to stay in Singapore, he was not given documents allowing him to work.

The latest development has overwhelmed Sharif with disappointment and anxiety as his wife in Bangladesh has developed medical emergencies requiring surgery.

He said, “This is a betrayal because earlier, the authorities assured me that I would be allowed to continue working in Singapore until my case was resolved.”

Police: No evidence of involvement by Mr Sharif with unlicensed moneylenders

In response to Uddin Sharif’s recent statements, the police and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening.

The statement affirmed that the police had conducted thorough investigations into the harassment claims, including exhaustive interviews and forensic examinations.

Despite these efforts, no evidence was found to suggest any involvement by Mr Sharif with unlicensed moneylenders, and all leads to identifying the alleged harasser were diligently pursued.

“The Police have not received any new reports of harassment since 16 April 2024. ”

According to MOM, Mr Sharif’s work permit was terminated by his former employer on 11 April 2024 and he was issued a Special Pass to facilitate his continued presence in Singapore to assist in the Police’s investigations.

Throughout this period, his former employer generously covered the expenses for his accommodation and meals.

“Additionally, Mr Sharif was allowed to seek employment under the Temporary Job Scheme, a short-term employment scheme for foreigners who are required to remain in Singapore for investigation or prosecution purposes.”

The statement assured that MOM, along with the Migrant Workers Centre, actively supported Mr Sharif during this time, ensuring his well-being and facilitating his job search by connecting him with relevant employment agencies.

Despite expressing a preference for a safety coordinator position in the construction industry, Mr Sharif encountered difficulties in securing offers in this field. MOM acknowledged that he had declined job offers for non-construction roles.

Regarding the expiration of Mr Sharif’s Special Pass on 24 May, authorities confirmed that it was initially extended to 27 May, following the usual protocol.

“This is aligned with the usual approach taken in such cases,” they said.

“Mr Sharif then requested additional time beyond 27 May to make the arrangements. The authorities acceded to his request for a further extension of his Special Pass to 31 May 2024, given the circumstances of his case.”

Sharif’s plight prompted WMP to launch an online petition advocating for his right to remain and work in Singapore.

WorkersMakePossible urged the public on Instagram: “Sharif has done nothing wrong and has suffered a lot over the last few months. Why should he be sent home and lose his livelihood for no fault of his? The authorities should give Sharif time and support to find a new job and continue his life in Singapore.”

Earlier, Sharif responded to these challenges in a video, saying, “I trust the police and MOM to help me, but they let me down.”

He also articulated his dismay, “Why should I be sent home when I have done nothing wrong? I know of many other cases, but am I not allowed to stay and look for a permanent job after that?”

According to WMP, Sharif is very worried that his outspokenness on migrant workers’ issues could lead to MOM not approving his work permit application even if he secures a new job in Singapore.


Mr Sharif terminated by former employer despite being harassment victim

In April, Mr Sharif disclosed that his employer had terminated him due to ongoing harassment and false accusations against him of owing money.

Sharif, who has contributed to Singapore’s construction industry since 2008 and authored two books, began facing problems in late January 2024 when his employer received mail falsely alleging that Sharif was indebted to a loan shark.

Despite both Mr Sharif and his employer filing multiple police reports regarding the harassment, he received a termination notice from the company in March stating that the decision was made under the advice of MOM and the police, which left him feeling deeply betrayed.

WMP calls for ensuring justice for migrant workers

MOM and police on 6 April in a Facebook post clarified that they did not advise the company to terminate Mr Sharif and that Mr Sharif is allowed to remain in Singapore while the investigations are ongoing.

In its Facebook post, MOM clarified that the daughter of Mr Sharif’s employer had sought advice from Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre on 9 March after receiving debtor’s notes and hell notes addressed to Mr Sharif at her residential address.

Sharif subsequently filed a police report, claiming he was a victim of harassment, which is now being investigated under Section 3(2) of the Protection from Harassment Act.

Moreover, after being dismissed by his former employer, Sharif attempted to secure new employment, but continued harassment undermined these efforts.

After submitting an application for Sharif’s permit, a prospective employer received a threatening message, “If he works for you, you pay!”, along with scans of Sharif’s work permit.

WMP urged concerned members of the public to write to the police and MOM, urging authorities to halt the unjust deportation of Mr Sharif.

They questioned why he is still being hastily deported despite being a harassment victim.

Highlighting concerns about Singapore’s justice system integrity and workers’ rights protection, WMP urged authorities to review Mr Sharif’s case and take immediate action to ensure justice and workers’ rights protection.

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