Mohamad Hafiz Salim Alkhatib, 37, is the owner of H. Alkhatib, a restaurant business registered to 22 Dunlop Street (the address of one of the outlets of The Malayan Council).
On 17 November, he was taken to court for allegedly falsely declaring the salaries of his workers and lying to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
He faced a total of 41 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
The Ondeh-Ondeh Place?
Known for its Malay-Western fusion menu, The Malayan Council currently has four outlets in Singapore.
They are located at Dunlop Street, Bussorah Street, Winstedt Road and Esplanade Mall. You might recognise this name because its Ondeh-Ondeh cake has been heavily praised and featured on a few reviews.
But now, people might remember them for another reason.
Hafiz allegedly lied to the authorities about his workers’ salaries in declarations for work pass applications and also instigated 13 of them to lie to MOM in 2019.
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The 13 workers involved held positions including restaurant managers, supervisors and customer service executives.
A charge involving one of the 13 workers said Hafiz paid the employee $200 less each month than the declared salary between February and August 2019.
Hafiz is also alleged to have instigated Ms Sheikhah Mumtaz Sheikh Mustafa, the director of The Malayan Council, to lie to MOM about the workers’ work passes on three occasions.
On top of that, he is alleged to have employed two other foreign workers at The Malayan Council’s Bussorah Street outlet without valid work passes in 2019.
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Currently out on $15,000 bail, Hafiz has given multiple media interviews since 2015 promoting The Malayan Council. Furthermore, his lawyers have sought an adjournment for more time to make their case as his wife is going to give birth soon, according to court records.
The records noted that there is “likely to be (a) lengthy custodial term due to (the) nature of offences”.
The case is expected to be heard again on 27 Dec.
If convicted of making a false employment declaration, Hafiz may be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $20,000 for each charge.
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