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PM Wong to write to ICA for extension of stay, says migrant worker

Migrant worker Uddin MD Sharif shared that Prime Minister Lawrence Wong committed to writing a letter to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to extend his stay in Singapore, allowing him to seek employment. Despite having a flight booked to Bangladesh for 5 a.m. on 31 May, Mr Sharif fervently hopes the PM Wong’s appeal will yield positive results.



On Wednesday (29 May) morning, Uddin MD Sharif, a Bangladeshi migrant worker wrote a letter to Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, appealing for assistance in light of his impending departure from Singapore by 31 May.

This follows his unjust dismissal by his employer amidst harassment claims and the conclusion of police investigations.

In a significant development, Mr Sharif took to Facebook on Thursday (30 May), to share the positive news that PM Wong had committed to writing a letter to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), asking them to extend Mr Sharif’s stay in Singapore, thereby allowing him to pursue employment.

This gesture has ignited hope for Mr Sharif’s prospects.

Mr Sharif expressed heartfelt gratitude that the new Prime Minister took the time to empathize with the struggles faced by migrant workers.

Despite having a flight booked to Bangladesh for 5 a.m. the following morning, Mr Sharif fervently hopes that the Prime Minister’s appeal will yield positive results, enabling him to remain in Singapore and secure employment to support his family back home.

Initially, Mr Sharif had hoped to personally deliver the letter to PM Wong, along with his books detailing the lives of migrant workers in Singapore.

However, he harboured doubts about meeting the Prime Minister in person. This scepticism stemmed from the realization that, unlike Singaporean citizens who can readily seek assistance from Members of Parliament (MPs) when facing issues, migrant workers like himself often lack clarity on who would represent or advocate for them.

Accompanied by two friends from the PM’s GRC, they attended the Lawrence Wong weekly Meet-The-People Session last night. Unfortunately, they were informed that only citizens and Permanent Residents could directly meet with the MP.

Nevertheless, Sharif’s friends decide to represent him, and after explaining the situation to PM Wong’s assistant, they are granted an audience with the PM.

During their meeting, PMWong assured them that he would promptly compose a letter to the ICA, appealing for an extension of Sharif’s stay in Singapore to facilitate his job search.

Mr Sharif is deeply moved by the PM’s willingness to advocate on his behalf, despite being unable to meet him in person.

“His efforts to help me on such short notice, despite how busy he must be, moved me. If the PM believes I deserve a chance, then all my efforts to get justice have not been in vain. ”

“The last few days, I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but the PM’s words and integrity have given me fresh optimism. ”

In his letter to PM Wong, Mr Sharif voiced his distress over being forced to leave without understanding his supposed wrongdoing, despite his sincere efforts and adherence to the country’s laws.

“I have not been able to eat properly for the past four months. I could not sleep properly. I spent my days with great restlessness. Night and day I have only been wondering what is my fault, I have been looking for my sin. But I could not find it. ”

“I am heartbroken that in my moment of need, when I became a victim of harassment, and unfair job dismissal, the solution given by the administration of this country was to get rid of me. ”

He lamented the lack of fair treatment and voiced concern for the future of migrant workers’ rights in Singapore.

Furthermore, Mr Sharif defended his advocacy for workers’ rights, questioning whether his outspokenness has led to his impending deportation. He expressed concern for the fate of other migrant workers who dare to speak up about injustices.

He asserted the truthfulness of his commentary on workers’ lives in Singapore, emphasizing the hazardous working conditions, inadequate living facilities, and exploitation faced by many workers.

Mr Sharif believed that by shedding light on these issues, change could be brought about gradually.

“But now I realise that my belief was wrong. Even though we make up one-third of the population in this country, maybe this country doesn’t want to hear our voices. Workers are still not recognised as human beings in this country. They are merely modern day slaves.”

He emphasized the need for fair laws, transparency, and accountability to improve the lives of workers and prevent others from facing the same fate.

The advocacy group WorkersMakePossible (WMP) welcomed the positive development and expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Wong’s advocacy on behalf of Mr. Sharif to the relevant authorities. They highlighted the significance of this support in providing Mr. Sharif with a fair chance to continue living and working in Singapore.

Readers may read the full text of Mr Sharif’s letter to PM Wong which he shared on his Facebook post:

Earlier, in a video shared by 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 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.

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

In response to Uddin Sharif’s statements, the police and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Tuesday issued a joint statement affirming that thorough investigations found no evidence linking Mr Sharif to unlicensed moneylenders, and all leads were diligently pursued.

Despite his work permit termination on 11 April, Mr Sharif was issued a Special Pass to remain in Singapore and assist with police investigations, with his former employer covering his accommodation and meals.

Additionally, MOM and the Migrant Workers Centre actively supported Mr Sharif, facilitating his job search and allowing him to seek employment under the Temporary Job Scheme.

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.”

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.

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.
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Really a disappointing act of his😡

Didn’t know our PM has to interfere in these issues to buy over hearts.

C’mon, he shld had better things to focus on other than these.
He’s not to gain any support from those he hope to from this saga, rather he will lose the respect from his current supporters.

Pls uphold the PM dignity by not resorting to having a finger even in these issues.

Its really jaw dropping 🙄

Really can’t imagine an PM stooping to this level.

Smells of a conspiracy somewhere.
So Anyone else need PM LW’s urgent assistance?

Find Mr Uddin’s alleged harasser and we will get to the bottom of this. Come on, our SPF cannot be that incompetent.