In a first for the Indian business community in Singapore, a leading industry group that represents banks and other large corporations of India in Singapore has donated a six figure sum to Singapore’s Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund (MWAF).
At a ceremony yesterday, the CII-India Business Forum (CII-IBF), Singapore, donated S$159,000/- to the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund (MWAF) which is channelled through the Migrant Workers’ Centre. These workers, largely from India and South Asia, have been badly affected by the Corona Virus and are facing financial difficulties. CII-IBF is working with the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), which is facilitating and promoting donations for the workers’ cause. This contribution forms part of a larger corpus that SINDA is facilitating.
The money will go towards ex-gratia payment for some of the workers who have not been able to get their salaries. “It will also go towards food and accommodation needs as well as their daily necessities,” said Ms Indranee Rajah Minister (Prime Minister’s Office), Second Minister for Finance & Second Minister for Education who received the cheque as President of SINDA. Expressing her appreciation for the donation she said: “We sent out a call to different members of the Indian community and I am so pleased that the CII-IBF has stepped up in response to that call…the key thing is that all of you in some shape or form wanted to contribute. And that makes Singapore special – that all our constituents, corporate constituents, individual constituents, whether they be Singaporean, PR, foreigners, come together in time of need to help each other out. It’s been really heart-warming to see that.”
Ms Rajah was officiating at the ceremony which was attended by HE Jawed Ashraf out-going High Commissioner of India to Singapore and Yeo Guat Kwang, Chairman Migrant Workers’ Centre and moderated by KV Rao Chairman CII-IBF & Resident Director (ASEAN) Tata Sons. Also present was Girish Ramachandran, President (APAC) Tata Consultancy Services, Kishore Kumar Poludasu Country Head, State Bank Of India, Singapore, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO, Adani Global and other heads of participating companies.
Stressing the importance of Singapore’s social cohesion she added: “I also want to say that the Government remains fully committed to helping the migrant workers…In terms of medical care they will be looked after in exactly the same way as we would look after Singaporeans, because for us human life is important. The compassion we show to others, whether citizen or not, is important because that would say something about us as a society. And having everybody come together in this way really adds to the strength of the community that we have.
“This brings me to what kind of society we want to be because we want to strengthen the Singapore social compact. What we are looking to see is firstly to save jobs. We are making that a priority and we are looking to see where are the needy, the vulnerable segments, and we want to strengthen our social cohesion and resilience. So in this regard the CII-IBF I believe can also play a useful role.”
A recent survey of CII-IBF in April revealed, the Indian companies here remain resolute and confident in Singapore. They expressed appreciation of the proactive steps that Singapore Government has taken on the economic side to save lives and livelihoods, and they have shown solidarity with the government and people of Singapore.
H.E Jawed Ashraf, outgoing High Commissioner of India to Singapore “I am delighted CII-India Business Forum, have come together to contribute to the Migrant Workers Assistance Fund. I laud the Indian companies here for coming forward always to fulfil their social responsibility and for their commitment to sustain and create jobs, and support digitalisation, in Singapore”
Yeo Guat Kwang, Chairman, Migrant Workers Centre (MWC) “We greatly appreciate CII Singapore and IBF for their efforts to raise funds to help the migrant workers’ community in Singapore. As a champion for fair employment and the well-being of our migrant brothers and sisters in Singapore, we are happy to see the various sectors in our community coming together to show care and concern to our migrant workers’ community, and standing by them during this battle against the Covid-19 virus.”
K V Rao Chairman of CII IBF & Resident Director (ASEAN), Tata Sons Pte Ltd. “It is indeed heartening – Indian corporates contributed whole heartedly, to the Singapore community, in which we live and work, during this crisis, while the parent organisations are still faced with significant challenges back home”
Girish Ramachandran, President (APAC), TATA Consultancy Services called the donation “A small token of our appreciation for everything the Migrant Worker Community has contributed in building Singapore into such a safe and prosperous nation”
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world” says Kishore Kumar Poludasu, Country Head, State Bank of India, Singapore, and he hopes the donation drive will inspire others.
“Every single Migrant Worker is a hero, and has sacrificed much, making our daily lives so smooth. It’s a small appreciation for them..” adds Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO, Adani Global Pte Ltd