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MOM Setting Up Company To Run 2 Purpose-Built Migrant Worker Dorms In Boon Lay And Sengkang West
MOM | An artist impression of the courtyard area of the purpose-built dormitory at Tukang Innovation Lane, which will feature multi-purpose courts for workers to play their favourite sport, and green spaces for workers to unwind and relax in.
October 2nd, 2022 | 13:15 PM | 356 views
To directly operate two new purpose-built migrant worker dormitories at Tukang Innovation Lane and Sengkang West, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will be setting up a corporate entity called Nest Singapore Limited.
At a launch event for the purpose-built dormitory at Tukang Innovation Lane in Boon Lay and Nest Singapore Limited on Saturday (Oct 1), MOM said it is setting up Nest to increase its capabilities in dormitory management while promoting innovation in migrant worker housing.
The company limited by guarantee will be set up in the last quarter of 2022 and more details will be announced then, said MOM, adding that Nest stands for Nurture, Engage, Support and Transform.
"Nest aims to nurture and engage a community of support to transform migrant work housing and management for the future," the ministry said.
"Nest’s experience would enable MOM to better design policies, regulations and initiatives for migrant worker housing."
The Tukang Innovation Lane and Sengkang West dormitories will house 2,400 beds and 7,200 beds and be operational by 2025 and 2028, both respectively.
In a speech at the launch event, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng said the setting up of Nest “demonstrates MOM’s commitment to press on with our efforts to fortify and improve the resilience and liveability of dormitories”.
“The purpose-built dormitories will allow Nest to pilot new ideas to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, or future pandemics, and at the same time, enhance liveability through infrastructure design features and innovative dormitory living and management practices.
“To explore these possibilities, Nest will work closely with private sector partners in the dormitory industry and across other industries such as healthcare, technology and hospitality.”
Dr Tan said that through successful pilot initiatives in the purpose-built dormitories, MOM and Nest can “showcase these ideas and good practices and encourage their adoption in the wider dormitory sector”.
Plans to build the two dormitories were first announced in Sept 2021. At that time, the Government said that they would be constructed and owned by the Government but run by a dorm operator.
It had also earlier announced that one of the two dormitories would be at Kranji, rather than Sengkang West. A MOM spokesperson said that the Kranji site will be tendered to a private operator instead.
“We decided to go with Sengkang West because of the upcoming developments in the area, such as Punggol Digital District,” said the spokesperson, adding that the upcoming developments will create a need to house workers.
FEATURES OF PURPOSE-BUILT DORM AT TUKANG INNOVATION LANE
MOM is currently shortlisting four tenderers for the design of Tukang Innovation Lane’s purpose-built dormitory, and plans to start the design consultancy tender for Sengkang West’s by the end of this year.
Detailing the features of the dormitory at Tukang Innovation Lane, a MOM spokesperson said that each room at Tukang Innovation Lane will house up to 12 residents, at 4.2 sqm per resident.
It will also come with an ensuite toilet — with one toilet, bathroom and hand-wash basin for every six residents — and ensuite laundry facilities which will help minimise intermixing across rooms during future disease outbreaks.
“This takes into consideration feedback from operators and residents themselves on the importance of having sufficient space for residents,” said the MOM spokesperson.
Other features include:
Higher ceiling heights for improved ventilation in rooms
Courtyard area that can be repurposed into medical facilities during future disease outbreaks
An open void deck area that can also be repurposed
Multi-purpose rooms and an indoor gym
Commercial amenities, such as a minimart, canteen, barber, ATM corner and outdoor refreshment area
Two cricket practice lanes
Communal spaces on each floor
MOM said: “These enhanced features build on the improved dormitory standards, under which all new purpose-built dormitories are required to have, such as more spacious rooms with occupancy caps and en-suite toilets, improved ventilation, and modularised and segmented communal facilities.”
Beyond physical infrastructure, MOM said the purpose-built dormitory would also use technology, including facilitating in-room access to services in the dormitories, virtual training and video conferencing.
It will also implement “innovative dormitory management practices” such as providing access to tele-medical and mental wellness consultations.
When asked about the likely prices Nest would charge to house workers, the MOM spokesperson did not specify the exact price, but added: “We will need to take into consideration the bed prices of the surrounding area to ensure that the bed prices are competitive while taking into consideration the financial sustainability of Nest.”
Mr Johnathan Cheah, president of the Dormitory Association Singapore Limited, said that it "welcomes and supports" all initiatives to improve the dormitory industry
"Many of our members have gone beyond the prevailing regulatory specifications, implemented innovative technology solutions and developed new programmes for our migrant worker residents’ well-being, and we look forward to partner Nest to collectively bring further fresh ideas and best practices to the industry,” he added.
Mr Bernard Menon, executive director of non-government organisation Migrant Workers’ Centre, also welcomed the ministry's move, adding it will continue to work collectively with MOM and stakeholders to "uplift the living conditions of our migrant workers".
Last month, MOM announced that it would be expanding the Foreign Workers Dormitory Act from April 1, 2023 to cover all dormitories with seven beds or more.
This means that the 1,600 dormitories with between seven and 999 beds would fall under the purview of the Act — which covers reporting requirements, traffic management and contingency plans for public health outbreaks, among other things — up from just 56 dormitories with 1,000 beds or more.
courtesy of TODAY
by LORAINE LEE
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