Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Foreign Domestic Workers Detained Under the Internal Security Act, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 07 October 2019


Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in light of the recent detentions of three foreign domestic workers under the Internal Security Act (a) whether there is a need to review existing regulations and procedures in screening foreign workers who are permitted to work in Singapore; and (b) whether the Ministry will be coordinating with the Ministry of Manpower to enhance awareness of employers to identify radicalised behaviour in their workers.



1. We do have measures in place to screen foreign workers. However, the security screening can only pick up those with prior records. Individuals may also become radicalised after they have been in Singapore.


2. We cannot just depend on screening. We have to stay vigilant, to identify and take actions against individuals who pose a threat to Singapore’s security. Our security agencies also work closely with their foreign counterparts, exchange intelligence to help uncover threats.


3. The community also has a role to play. Family members, friends, colleagues and employers are best placed to notice possible signs of radicalisation, and they should come forward if they suspect that someone they know might be involved in terrorism-related activities. Tell-tale signs include a change of behaviour and when the person starts to espouse extremist ideologies.


4. MHA works closely with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in this area. MOM issues advisories to employers of foreign domestic workers to educate them on indicators to look out for in someone who may be radicalised or be involved in terrorism-related activities. MHA also worked with MOM to incorporate a counter-terrorism module in the Settling-In Programme for new foreign domestic workers. The module teaches new foreign domestic workers what they should and should not do, how they can look out for tell-tale signs of radicalised individuals, and the Police hotline to call.


Law and order