Clinics offering medical screenings for foreign workers investigated
The New Paper
By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof
SINGAPORE - He admits it was a test he was desperate to pass.
It would mean a chance for the Malaysian to work in Singapore - a good gig which would allow him to support two children, ages 2 and 4, living in The Philippines with their mother.
"All I want is a chance to provide for my family," says the 40-something with thinning hair.
Foreign workers, like Mr Ismun, have to pass a medical test before they are certified for work here.
But he was born with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which creates an extra electrical pathway in the heart and causes rapid heart beats.
His illness can cause dizzy spells, chest pains and, in a worst-case scenario, result in a heart failure.
He knows that he cannot take a physically-taxing job and this has limited his options in Malaysia.
"I was always envious of my friends in school who were fitter," says Mr Ismun in fluent English.
"I could only play football till half-time, while my friends played the full game."
His friends later joined the army or police, while he became an environmental health officer for 13 years.
Mr Ismun was hoping to find an administrative job here - he claims to have a diploma in public health and some experience in the food and beverage (F&B) industry.
Indeed, he says he had been promised a managerial position in an F&B outlet, pending his passing the medical.
He was considering the offer and had gone for the medical test hoping for the best.
"I just wanted the doctor to give me the okay. If he could certify me fit enough for desk jobs, I can find something not too physical," he says.