by BERNAMA / pic by BLOOMBERG
SINGAPORE – Government agencies and trade associations in Singapore are ready to help local employers to provide temporary accommodations in the republic for their Malaysian workers.
Quoting the republic’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, The Straits Times reported that employers of Malaysian workers who need to put up their staff in temporary accommodations can get help from government agencies and trade associations.
The report said Chan gave the assurance to address concerns among Singaporeans over the implications of the Malaysian government’s enforcement of the Movement Control Order from March 18-31 to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, in his latest Facebook status update, Chan noted that for many years, Singapore has had a contingency plan in case of a disruption of supplies of food and essential items from Malaysia.
“We have put in place robust plans to manage this scenario and will continue to review our strategies to ensure that Singaporeans never run out of food or essential supplies,” he said.
Chan said Singapore has more than three months’ worth of stockpile for carbohydrates such as rice and noodles at the national level.
“For proteins like meat, and vegetables, we will use a combination of fresh, frozen and canned options to meet our demand and we have more than two months’ worth of supplies at normal consumption patterns.
“As for eggs, we have our local production and we are also activating air freight options to substitute the Malaysian supplies should they be disrupted,” he wrote.
Last night, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that Malaysia will be placed under a nationwide Movement Control Order from March 18-31, 2020 to combat the spread of the COVID-19.
The order, the first in the country’s history, was announced by the prime minister in a live televised broadcast at 10pm.
A total of 125 new positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Malaysia as of noon Monday, bringing the total to 553.
In his immediate response on Monday, Chan had also advised businesses that employ Malaysian workers who commute between Singapore and Malaysia daily that they may have to activate their Business Continuity Plans.
Meanwhile, the republic’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said many companies are making efforts to house workers who commute across the Singapore-Malaysia border frequently.
MOM said companies can encourage affected workers to stay with their relatives, friends or colleagues, who may be willing to accommodate them temporarily.
“This may be the option most amenable to some workers,” it said in its website.
For workers who cannot stay with relatives, friends or colleagues, the ministry said the government is working with the private and public sectors to provide a range of short-term housing options.
It said that there is a range of hotels and dormitories, as well as rooms and whole housing units in HDB flats and private residential properties that are currently available for short term occupancies.