Opinion / From the Press

Safeguard Chinese drivers' legal rights

( Updated: 2012-12-05 17:16

One hundred and two Chinese bus drivers working for Singapore Mass Rapid Transit went on strike recently, to protest SMRT's unfair treatment of Chinese drivers. Without any criminal charges being laid, 29 of the drivers were imprisoned illegally and another 29 had their licenses revoked and were sent back to China, says an article in 21st Century Business Herald. Excerpts:

Chinese drivers complained their Malaysian co-workers had received a salary rise but they had not. At another public transport company in Singapore, the Singaporean, Malaysian and Indian drivers received a salary rise, but the Chinese staff did not.

It is advisable for SMRT to respond to Chinese drivers' complaints by peaceful dialogue, rather than forceful measures.

Singapore, which is poor in labor resources, has more than 1 million foreign laborers, 20 percent are Chinese. Singapore has the harshest strike laws in the world. The government does not allow strikes without employers' permission.

This incident has happened at a time when Singapore's attitude toward China has changed. Ever since the United States shifted their focus to Asia. Singapore has gradually joined the US' efforts in containing China. Singapore is also one of the most active powers in the region, insisting the South China Sea issue should be solved with a multilateral mechanism.

Chinese people closely follow the development of this incident and the Chinese government requires their Singapore counterparts to consider the practical conditions of Chinese drivers as well as their reasonable demands. This issue must be solved cautiously and properly and the legal rights of the arrested Chinese drivers must be safeguarded.

China has never harmed Singapore's national interests and has played an indispensable role in promoting regional stability and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific, benefiting Singapore's development and prosperity.

To keep China as a good friend and reliable trade partner, Singapore should abolish its unfair treatment to Chinese drivers and consider the feelings of the Chinese people.

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