Published: 19 November 2018
Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether all private security officers working in public places can be treated as "public service workers" under the Protection from Harassment Act instead of limiting protection under the Act to only those working in specified places such as public healthcare institutions, educational institutions, bus interchanges and railway premises.
Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether cleaners and waste collectors can be treated as "public service workers" under the Protection from Harassment Act; and (b) whether such a class of workers can be expanded to cover all cleaners and waste collectors working in places to which the public has access, as such individuals are performing services which are essential to the well-being of the public or the proper functioning of Singapore and are vulnerable to harassment and abuse in the course of their work.
1. The member asked if we could classify all private security guards, as well as all cleaners and waste collectors, as Public Service Workers. In general, we consider individuals as Public Service Workers for the purpose of additional protection under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) if their jobs serve the general public, and not just patrons of a private business or establishment. For example, cleaners in public hospitals and security guards at bus interchanges would be considered as Public Service Workers. On the other hand, cleaners in private hospitals and security guards in commercial buildings would not be considered as Public Service Workers.
2. Notwithstanding this, there are sufficient protections under POHA for everyone. Offenders convicted under POHA for harassment can be punished with a fine of up to $5,000, or an imprisonment term of up to twelve months, or both, if the victim is a Public Service Worker or public servant. If the victim is any other member of the public, the punishment is a fine of up to $5,000, or an imprisonment term of up to six months, or both.