Singapore says Malaysian workers stranded there sent to temporary relief centres

Commuters take the Woodlands Causeway to Singapore from Johor a day before Malaysia imposes a lockdown on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore March 17, 2020. — Reuters pic
Commuters take the Woodlands Causeway to Singapore from Johor a day before Malaysia imposes a lockdown on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore March 17, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 ―  Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has clarified today that Malaysians who were found stranded in the island after the Movement Control Order (MCO) were sent to Temporary Relief Centres.

Claiming the report by the republic’s news outlet TODAY “did not present a full picture of the ground situation”, as the MOM has provided employers financial aid of S$50 (RM151) per day per worker.

“In addition, since the imposition of the MCO, MOM and the Singapore Police Force have stepped up patrols across Singapore to check for workers that did not manage to secure accommodation.

“The stepped up patrols over both nights picked up a small number of Malaysian workers without short-term accommodation. These included the 14 workers found at Kranji MRT station,” said its spokesman in a statement.

“These workers were immediately brought to a Temporary Relief Centre managed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development at Jurong East, while arrangements were made for their longer term housing,” it added.

It said most of the Malaysians who were affected have been properly accommodated by their employers through a variety of means.

“This was done despite employers and workers being given only 24 hours to react to the MCO,” the spokesman said.

TODAY reported that the workers sleeping near Kranji MRT Station have not been promised accommodation by employers despite the financial aid.

The report said they work in the cleaning and manufacturing industries, and said they had no choice but to sleep outdoors.

On Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the nationwide lockdown until the end of March to try and control the spread of Covid-19.

On Tuesday, Singapore’s Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said about 10,000 Malaysian workers who have chosen to stay in Singapore to work have been matched to temporary accommodations here.

A check by TODAY yesterday with 20 hostels and budget hotels found that most are fully booked until the end of the month, after getting calls from Malaysian workers or their Singapore employers seeking temporary accommodation.

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