Ms Hazel Poa asked the Minister for Manpower how much has been spent on supporting dormitory operators to comply with COVID-19-related measures and whether these dormitory operators are required to reimburse the Government for this expenditure.
Mrs Josephine Teo: At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in the dormitories, the Government needed the full cooperation of dormitory operators to contain the infections in the dormitories quickly, and take care of the well-being of their residents. These included stepped-up and additional cleaning and disinfection services, utilities provision associated with the increased duration that migrant workers had to spend in the dormitories, manpower and infrastructure needed to meet the new Safe Living requirements in dormitories. As these were new impositions not originally catered for by the dormitory operators, the Government introduced support schemes to reimburse them for qualifying expenses incurred over a limited period from April to August last year.
Till date, the Government has provided $4.6 million of reimbursement directly to dormitory operators who had to manage about 160,000 migrant workers. There are further claims that are pending assessment and clarifications.
MOM, in our assessment of the claims, check that dormitory operators have exercised financial prudence in their purchases and the reasonableness of the claim amounts. We also impose a cap on the amount claimable based on our assessment of a reasonable claim.