Geylang shophouses damaged in fire found to be overcrowded

Victor Kang18 Sep 2019

House fire victims in Kampung Baru have been given temporary houses.

The URA is also investigating whether the units were converted into dormitory accommodation without any proper authorisation.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower revealed that the two shophouses at Geylang Lorong 4 which were damaged in a fire on 15 September were overcrowded, reported The New Paper.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) shared that the third-storey units at 47B and 45B Lorong 4 Geylang have been approved for residential use.

But while each unit can only accommodate six unrelated persons, 14 work permit holders stayed in them.

With this, URA and MOM are investigating the case for violations under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) and Planning Act.

“Based on our preliminary findings, the employers have breached EFMA by housing their work permit holders in overcrowded conditions,” said the government offices in a statement.

The URA is also investigating whether the units were converted into dormitory accommodation without any proper authorisation.

The Planning Act subjects private residential properties to an occupancy cap of six unrelated people.

The EFMA, on the other hand, requires employers to ensure safe and proper accommodation for foreign workers.

Those who fail to meet this requirement can be fined up to $10,000, or imprisoned for up to one year, or both, for each foreign employee housed in overcrowded or unsafe conditions.

Errant employers will also be prevented from applying for new work passes or renewing existing work passes.

The spokesman advised property owner to exercise due diligence to check that their properties are not subject to unauthorised uses, such as dormitory accommodation.

Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email


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