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ICA and MOM uphold decision: Migrant worker Sharif must leave Singapore by 31 May

Despite migrant worker Uddin MD Sharif’s earlier letter to Prime Minister Lawrence Wong appealing for assistance, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the Ministry of Manpower have decided not to grant an extension of Mr Sharif’s Special Pass beyond 31 May. The joint statement said Mr Sharif had been given sufficient time since the termination of his work permit on 11 April to seek employment under the Temporary Job Scheme.



SINGAPORE: Despite migrant worker Uddin MD Sharif’s earlier letter to Prime Minister Lawrence Wong appealing for assistance regarding his impending departure from Singapore on 31 May, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have upheld the decision that Mr Sharif must leave Singapore.

Mr Sharif previously shared that following a meeting between his friend from the Prime Minister’s GRC and PM Wong at the Meet-The-People Session (MPS) on 29 May, he was told PM Wong assured them he would write to the ICA, appealing for an extension of Sharif’s stay in Singapore to facilitate his job search.

However, in a joint statement issued by the ICA and MOM at midnight on Friday (31 May), the agencies affirmed they had received an appeal on Mr Sharif’s behalf by a resident of Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC during the MPS session on 29 May.

After reviewing the appeal, the ICA and MOM have decided not to grant an extension of Mr Sharif’s current Special Pass beyond 31 May 2024.

The joint statement reiterated that Mr Sharif had been given sufficient time since the termination of his work permit on 11 April 2024 to seek employment under the Temporary Job Scheme (TJS), even while SPF’s investigations into unlicensed moneylender harassment reports were ongoing.

The MOM, along with the Migrant Workers’ Centre, had connected him with employment agencies to support his job search under the TJS.

“Upon Mr Sharif’s request on 9 May 2024, MOM also provided him with an email confirmation of his TJS eligibility on 13 May 2024. MOM understand that Mr Sharif had turned down job offers including working as a packer and a hotel cleaner.”

As police investigations into the case have concluded and Mr. Sharif has not secured new employment, he must leave Singapore, the joint statement insisted.

“Mr Sharif’s Special Pass was originally due to expire on 24 May 2024, but in view of his request for additional time to make departure arrangements, it was extended to 27 May 2024. The authorities had then granted a further extension to 31 May 2024, given the circumstances of his case.”

Should Mr Sharif wish to return to Singapore for work in the future, he will have to apply afresh for a work permit based on the prevailing criteria, the statement concluded.

In an earlier Facebook post, Mr Sharif shared that he booked a flight to Bangladesh for 5 a.m. on Friday.

He fervently hoped that the Prime Minister’s appeal would yield positive results, enabling him to remain in Singapore and secure employment to support his family back home.

In his letter to PM Wong, Mr Sharif expressed 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.

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.

In a video shared by WMP on Instagram on 23 May, Mr Sharif revealed that the Singapore Police 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) issued a joint statement earlier on Tuesday 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 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.”

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Who has more power? Minister for Home Affairs and Minister of Manpower, or the Prime Minister?

Or was this whole thing just theatrics for the general public?

Good luck Mr Sharif, remember to let your people know about this tiny island.

Expected result…
This guy stepped on some toes…
He had no chance against MOM & ICA…an example to others ???