March 21, 2007

Two new sites for foreign workers' dorms

TWO new sites in Jurong and Sembawang that will house several thousand foreign workers have been put up for tender. This is part of efforts to prepare for an expected influx of manpower.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) launched a tender to find a dormitory operator for an 18,900-sq-m site in Cochrane Crescent, near Sembawang Shipyard, in December. However, the BCA did not award the tender as there were some changes in its conditions, and a re-tender is expected in April or May.

In February, the BCA put a 28,000-sq-m dormitory site in Soon Lee Road, in the Jurong industrial area, up for tender. This dormitory can house up to 4,500 workers.

Under the conditions of the two original tenders, the operators have to provide facilities such as an indoor gymnasium, multi-purpose courts and mini-marts.

The BCA is now evaluating bids for the Jurong dorm.

Dormitory operator JYC-NCL, which runs two facilities housing 6,000 workers in Soon Lee Road, is keen on both the Jurong and Sembawang sites.

But its managing director, Mr Yang Tse Pin, told The Straits Times that more space is needed to meet the housing and social needs of workers.

These new sites will help ease the housing crunch facing the anticipated 50,000 workers who will come to Singapore over the next few years as construction activity ramps up.

According to the Manpower Ministry website, there are 31 commercially run workers' dormitories here, as well as several temporary workers' quarters around the island.

The Ministry of National Development said it was identifying and releasing other dormitory sites, but stressed that the Government would take into account the potential impact when choosing locations.

It denied an earlier media report that suggested the Government was thinking of housing workers on an offshore island.