Singapore to provide financial support to employers affected by Malaysia’s movement control order

Commuters leave the Woodlands Causeway across to Singapore from Johor, hours before Malaysia imposes a movement control order on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Singapore March 17, 2020. — Reuters pic
Commuters leave the Woodlands Causeway across to Singapore from Johor, hours before Malaysia imposes a movement control order on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Singapore March 17, 2020. — Reuters pic

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SINGAPORE, March 17 — The Singapore government says it will be providing employers in the island country with financial support of S$50 per night for 14 nights for every worker affected by Malaysia’s Movement Control Order.

This was announced by the republic’s Manpower Minister Josephine Teo at a press conference by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce to update on the local situation of the Covid-19 infection here.

She said the order would affect both Workpass holders and Singapore’s own citizens as well as permanent residents who commute daily from Malaysia.

Earlier in a statement, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) advised employers to assess their manpower needs carefully and make a considered decision as to whether they need their affected workers to remain in Singapore.

It said in providing assistance, it will prioritise the needs of firms that provide essential services such as healthcare, security, cleaning, waste management, facilities management, logistics and transport.

The ministry said the government has worked with the private and public sectors to make available a range of short-term housing options for the workers affected including hotels and dormitories as well as rooms and whole properties in both Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats and the private residential property market.

“We’ve been able to match more than 10,000 so far in the few short hours we have, so we’re confident that those affected will be able to find suitable accommodation by the end of the night.

“It may take some time to get them matched properly, but there is sufficient capacity to house their affected workers,” Teo said.

Malaysia is implementing a nationwide Movement Control Order from March 18 to March 31, 2020.

This order is enforced under the Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967 and encompasses, among others, a complete travel restriction for all Malaysians going overseas.

Meanwhile, the republic’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said as a number of the bus captains and technicians are Malaysians who commute from Johor to work in the island, Singapore has contingency plans in case their commutes are disrupted.

Khaw said the public transport operators had secured sufficient hotel accommodation for all Malaysian bus captains who wish to continue to work and stay in Singapore.

“They will be comfortable and able to rest properly. Train and bus services will not be too much affected, although there may be a slight degradation of some bus services. I seek our commuters’ understanding,” he said in his Facebook update. — Bernama

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