Reverend Ezekiel Tan,
President of the Hope Initiative Alliance,
Mr. Tung Yui Fai,
Head of Safety, Care and Engagement Group,
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Louis Loke,
Deputy Commander of the Woodlands Division,
partners and volunteers,
1. It is my pleasure to participate with all of you in the Carnival Day of the Migrant Workers Community to raise awareness of crime prevention among migrant workers. This is very important. And that is a very sensible initiative. I want to thank you all for inviting me to be part of this event.
Fraud is a growing problem
2. How many of you here have received scam messages or know friends who have been scammed? Perhaps most if not all of you have gotten the messages and your friends may have been scammed before.
3. I would like to report that we are noticing an increasing trend of fraud which is increasing the overall crime rate in Singapore. Fraud accounted for more than half of all crimes in 2021. Almost 24,000 cases of fraud were reported, an increase of over 50% compared to 2020. We should be concerned and careful, be vigilant lest people take what is ours.
4. We are also concerned about how fraud affects you, our migrant workers. In Singapore we care about you, we want you to get what you deserve because it’s yours.
(a) In 2021, 15.5% of fraud victims were work permit holders.
(b) Migrant workers have lost nearly $25 million to fraud, which is more than five times what it was in 2019. That’s a lot, so you need to take this seriously to protect yourself.
5. These increasing trends are a problem that makes it increasingly urgent that we protect ourselves from potential scams.
Raising awareness of crime prevention and safety
6. Fighting fraud and other forms of crime is a collective responsibility. Therefore, alongside police efforts, we also focus our efforts on educating the public about crime prevention and safety.
7. Our core message is that vigilance and self-protection matter. This goes for everyone including all of you who are here today as anyone can fall for scams. For example, be careful if you receive calls with the area code “+65” as these are coming from abroad and are most likely fake calls from scammers.
8. I am very happy to know that today’s carnival is very well attended – I see so many of you here. Events like this carnival are a useful way for us to learn crime prevention tips.
9. I encourage everyone here today to contact the law enforcement officers present to learn more about the different types of crimes, safety tips, and ways to seek help.
Community support for the safety and well-being of migrant workers
10. In addition to our individual responsibilities, community support also plays an important role in improving the safety and well-being of migrant workers.
11. Today’s carnival is a good example of this. Key to the event’s success is the strong partnership between government, private sector and human resources organizations which I am delighted to see together to help take care of you. We are all very fortunate to have this ecosystem where everyone looks out for each other. I am encouraged by the initiative of the organizers and the strong support from stakeholders and volunteers. For example, I just met employees of DBS Bank. You are here today to share the benefits of having your salary transferred immediately for security reasons. Doosh, a barber shop – which I’ve also met before – has gathered a community of volunteer barbers to offer free haircuts. These are good initiatives that help you take care of yourself and show the heart of the community.
12. Aside from today’s carnival, there are also a variety of other ongoing initiatives that support the welfare of migrant workers. For example:
(a) Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach or AGWO, a key partner of this event, organizes weekly engagements such as chai chats and sporting activities, as well as festive carnivals. AGWO also offers free training courses known as Soft Skill Enhancement Programs, which provide literacy, finance, computer and programming skills to migrant workers.
(b) In order to cultivate a culture of reading, ACE Group’s Kranji District has also established the Library @ Kranji Recreation Center with over 700 books in different languages and genres.
13. As part of the Migration Worker Forward initiative, officers from the Woodlands Police Division regularly engage with the community through roadshows and training to promote crime prevention and drug control education. The department also supports the Migrant Worker Ambassadors Programme, which provides migrant workers with training on crime prevention, fire safety and drug awareness, in partnership with the Singapore Civil Defense Force and the Central Narcotics Bureau.
14. In conclusion, to protect ourselves from becoming victims of crime, it is important to stay alert and know where to go for help. I encourage you to visit the many stands of this carnival to learn more and I hope that you will also take the opportunity to have fun.
15. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers for their hard work and the participants and volunteers for organizing and supporting this event. I am very honored and very honored to be able to attend this event. Thank you for inviting me here.