The politics of language: How can we mainstream social justice vocabularies?

To broaden the national conversation on migrant workers, Quah Say Jye proposes for civil society to coordinate the introduction of relevant terms into the shared vocabulary. He discusses three criteria for the relevant terms and suggests that the language of exploitation meets those criteria well. Addressing concerns on the feasibility of this proposal, Say Jye provides a case for its uptake and possible methods to do so.

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What could a fairer migrant worker policy look like?

Poh Yong Han argues that while addressing poor dormitory and food standards for migrant workers are important, they merely represent the tip of the iceberg. Unless we tackle the underlying structural issues that explain why migrant workers “consent” to such poor standards (low wages, high agency fees) in the first place, we are not addressing the root cause of the problem. To address them, she proposes setting a Minimum Income Threshold, and enforcing fair recruitment practices. She further suggests reconsidering whether the Work Permit scheme as it stands is even ethical, and asks if current restrictions (such as tying workers to specific employers) need to be loosened, and whether a fairer migrant worker policy would entail providing them with pathways to citizenship or residency.

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