JOHOR BARU, April 8 — Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) has urged the state government to immediately restructure the entry process of Malaysian workers from Singapore, such as to isolate them or negotiate with the republic to quarantine them there first.
State Opposition leader Aminolhuda Hassan said Malaysian workers should be quarantined first and allowed to return to the country if found to be healthy, rather than allowing them to return and self-quarantine at home.
He said Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan’s statement yesterday asking Malaysians working in Singapore to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days after returning was a regrettable matter.
“This is contrary to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s statement expressing his view that Malaysians should stay in Singapore for two weeks.
“We agree with him and the Johor government should look into this matter as it concerns the health and concerns of the people,” said Aminolhuda in a statement, questioning the risk of Covid-19 spreading among those who are returning to Malaysia.
Aminolhuda, who is also the Johor Parti Amanah Negara chief, said what the Johor government advised can lead to more concern, especially with the current Covid-19 crisis.
He said the state government should make early preparations for handling such cases such as having immediate consultations with the Singapore government or requesting Putrajaya to intervene in resolving the matter.
It was reported that the Johor government yesterday reminded all Malaysian workers who have returned due to the one-month lockdown of Singapore to strictly adhere to their 14-day self-quarantine order.
The move, dubbed a “circuit breaker”, has impacted an estimated 45,000 Malaysians who continued to work in the island republic following the extension of movement control order (MCO) to April 14.
Some have since returned, an exodus that began over the weekend.
Aminolhuda claimed that Vidyananthan’s statement had further confused the situation with most people starting to panic and leading to other issues that could affect public order.
“Our concern is based on the previous case in Sarawak which took the same steps where the subjects were required to self-quarantine in their homes, but it eventually led to the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
“As of today, we have been informed that 12,000 Malaysian workers from the republic have entered the country and the Johor government should immediately gather their information to screen them or quarantined them in centres as soon as possible,” said Aminolhuda.
Earlier, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob advised Malaysian citizens working in Singapore to remain in the republic during the MCO period.
Before Malaysia’s MCO was implemented on March 18, an estimated 300,000 Malaysians commuted from Johor daily to work in Singapore.