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Questions over Sharif’s investigation closure as former employer denies staging harassment

In a CNA interview, Uddin Md Sharif’s former employer refuted claims of staging harassment to terminate him. Despite Sharif leaving Singapore, questions persist about why authorities concluded the investigation despite the harasser not being found. Additionally, concerns arise about how Sharif was treated by authorities during the investigation, seemingly as if he were the accused.

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SINGAPORE: Bangladeshi migrant worker Uddin Md Sharif left Singapore despite being a victim of harassment and false accusations after the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) upheld the decision not to extend his Special Pass beyond 31 May 2024.

However, in a recent interview with CNA, his former employer denied online allegations claiming that they had staged the loanshark harassment to find a reason to fire Mr Sharif.

Following his deportation from Singapore, Mr Sharif expressed disappointment and frustration in a recent Facebook post.

He criticized the Singaporean authorities, stating that they wronged him by sending him home without a proper investigation. He felt that they failed to evaluate him properly, both as a worker and as a writer, thereby creating a barrier to migrant workers’ rights.

Employer fired Mr Sharif over ‘loanshark’ harassment

Mr Wayne Yuen, the former employer of Mr Sharif, recalled in the CNA interview that his company initially dismissed the letters, as they had encountered similar situations before.

However, as more letters and threatening calls arrived, the harassment extended to other businesses in the same building as Hiap Seng Piling Construction, stated the company’s director.

Both Mr Sharif, formerly a safety coordinator at Hiap Seng and his company filed a police report.

Mr Yuen emphasized that the company typically trusted its workers until a “tipping point” when his sister received a letter at her home address, causing great concern for her safety and that of her children.

He believed the harassers identified his sister’s address by noting her car’s plate number mentioned in the letter. While his sister filed a police report, the company began contemplating letting go of Mr Sharif.

“Because of a worker we risk our (safety) – I think it’s not a good deal,” said Mr Yuen.

MOM revealed that a police officer suggested “harassment might cease if worker left employer”

In a joint statement in early April, the police and MOM said Mr Yuen’s sister was told that police would step up patrols around her home and alert her condominium’s security.

“The officer, out of concern for her family’s and her well-being, also advised her generally that harassment would usually stop after the work pass of a foreign worker being harassed had been cancelled, and the worker no longer worked for the employer,” the statement said.

The 6 April joint statement seemingly indicated that the advice from the police officer prompted the employer to terminate Mr Sharif’s employment due to safety concerns.

This decision was made despite subsequent police investigations confirming Mr Sharif’s innocence regarding involvement with loan sharks.

The employer’s decision to fire Mr Sharif had left the latter jobless and feeling betrayed by Singapore authorities.

While he initially managed to find another job, the potential employer had a change of mind after also receiving a harassing letter,  with the words “If he work 4 u, u pay!!”.

Despite Sharif’s efforts to clarify that this was a scam and his submission of a police report, the new company opted not to proceed with his hiring.

Nevertheless, MOM said they reached out to Mr Sharif to address his concerns and offer our assistance. Mr Sharif is allowed to remain in Singapore during the ongoing investigation.

Investigations eventually concluded in late May, with the authorities finding no evidence that Mr Sharif had borrowed money from unlicensed lenders.

The police said they had “exhausted all leads to identify the alleged harasser.” Despite Mr Sharif’s innocence, both ICA and MOM have decided not to grant an extension of his Special Pass beyond 31 May.

His Special Pass had already been extended twice, and his friends went as far as to appeal to Prime Minister Lawrence Wong for a further extension during a Meet-The-People Session.

In a joint statement issued on 30 May by MOM and ICA, it was noted that MOM understood Mr Sharif had declined job offers, including positions as a packer and a hotel cleaner.

Employer denies accusations of staged harassment against Mr Sharif

When asked if Hiap Seng had considered re-hiring Mr Sharif, Mr Yuen stated that it didn’t cross their minds due to slow business.

He described Mr Sharif as a diligent employee who never abused medical leave. Before the incident, Mr Sharif had maintained a trouble-free record during his four years at Hiap Seng.

Mr Yuen also dismissed online speculation suggesting that his company had orchestrated the harassment to terminate Mr Sharif. He emphasized that they had made efforts to support Mr Sharif, even covering his dormitory accommodations and meals for over a month after his dismissal during the investigation period.

According to Mr Yuen, the letters, calls, and harassment ceased following Mr Sharif’s termination.

Unanswered questions linger following Mr Sharif’s abrupt deportation

Despite Mr Sharif abruptly leaving Singapore due to the authorities’ refusal to extend his Special Pass, certain questions remain unanswered, particularly regarding the lack of a perpetrator found for the harassment. The police claimed to have “exhausted all leads in identifying the alleged harasser.”

This situation raises doubts about how the harasser gained knowledge of Uddin’s new potential employer when they submitted the work permit application to MOM.

Mr Sharif had previously expressed concerns that the harassment would follow him and jeopardize his employment in the new company.

It is difficult for the Singaporean community not to feel perplexed by the authorities’ decision to conclude the investigation despite the harasser never being found.

Additionally, concerns arose about how Sharif was treated by authorities during the investigation, as he was allowed to leave Singapore after no offence could be made against him, seemingly as if he were the accused.

Mr Sharif: Maybe it was my crime to share migrant workers’ plight

In two recent Facebook posts, Mr Sharif expressed his profound frustration and disappointment with how the Singaporean authorities have wronged him, particularly over the past few months, which he feels have undone years of hard work and personal development.

He believes that his forced departure is not only a personal injustice but also a setback for the rights of workers.

“But even though I am not a criminal, the authorities of this country forced me to leave. They did not evaluate me properly as a worker or as a writer. They have wronged me. ”

“I reported to them to solve my problem but in return they sent me home without proper investigation.”

He highlighted the ongoing issues faced by migrant workers in Singapore, contrasting their plight with the country’s economic growth and criticizing that Singapore still practices modern-day slavery.

“Maybe it was my crime to share these experiences,” Mr Sharif suggested, implying that his outspoken nature and commitment to truth may have led to his expulsion.

“I never thought that the authorities would arrange a drama and send me out of this country. If I had known, I would have written more and more!”

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Who believes that a Smart Nation police force cannot find a harasser on a tiny, tiny island? He obviously got set up but his dismissal is wrongful. He should sue the employers. Disgraceful police force!

Mr Sharif answered most of his doubts about his case himself , and he may be spot on..
Im wondering if anymore poor souls had suffered such injustice in SG before .. .. ..we’ll never know.. if someone wants you out of the way, & they have the means ….
Scary…the next person could be me, could be you ..!

Last edited 6 days ago by W.A.J.

Then say never skirt issues … Cannot even ask questions and get an answer. The Leaders still can say never skirt issues … What a joke SG leadership!

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