Workers not involved need not worry: Shanmugam

Workers not involved need not worry: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE - Safety supervisor Gopal Mahendran, 36, stays in the same dormitory as some of the foreign workers due to be repatriated as a result of the Little India riot, and he worries about his future.

Last night, Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam went to Mr Mahendran's dormitory, Terusan Lodge, to reassure workers like him that those not involved in the riot need not worry.

Both he and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran, who visited Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 2, also had dialogues in Tamil with the workers.

Mr Shanmugam addressed 450 workers at Terusan, where the mood, according to Mr Mahendran, has been sombre. Terusan Lodge was also where Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, the man killed in the accident that preceded the riot, used to stay.

Last Tuesday night, Mr Shanmugam assured the workers at the dialogue: "I said on the current evidence, people have been charged, people have been identified for repatriation.

"If you are not involved, barring any new evidence, it is unlikely any action will be taken against you. You don't have to worry, just carry on with your jobs.

"Don't get into trouble in the future, be sensitive, be careful."

He was also asked by reporters about the decision to repatriate 53 workers for their involvement in the riot, even though they were not charged with a crime.

Mr Shanmugam said that under the Immigration Act, the Government has a right, when a determination is made that someone has acted contrary to Singapore's interests or acted in a manner prejudicial to the public security or safety, to ask them to leave.

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