This is in reference to the conviction of Tay Kok Eng for dumping a badly injured worker on the sidewalk. See news snippet: Employer pleads guilty to leaving worker to die by roadside.

It’s likely that the employer in this case left the worker assuming he would die and would not be able to identify the employer. A human life, no matter what his immigration status, must take priority over fear of prosecution for employing an illegal worker.

The employer of an illegal worker has much to gain: avoiding the security bond, insurance premiums and foreign worker levy among them. He is also freed from the paperwork involved in securing the work permit, and escape responsibility for food and housing. Employers who regularly make use of illegal workers expect to escape the financial responsibilities of hiring workers legally. In return he may be willing to pay a higher salary to his illegal worker.

Yet to abandon an injured or dying worker is unpardonable.

When the worker is seriously injured, the employer may think he has to decide whether to save the man’s life or save himself from prosecution for employing an illegal worker. Even seriously injured workers without proper documentation may be reluctant to identify their employers for fear of putting their workmates in jeopardy, and this reluctance may be seen by the employer as permission to scale back his response. However intelligible, the desire to avoid the law or escape financial costs cannot excuse a failure to discharge a fundamental ethical responsibility — that of doing everything possible to save a human life.

The reprehensible behaviour of an employer who would dump a dead or dying worker in order to escape paying for medical attention and prosecution reflects the reprehensible view that the lives of foreign workers are inconsequential.