In light of neighbouring Malaysia’s lockdown and travel restrictions, the Singapore government will be stepping up to make available some short-term accommodation options for Malaysian workers who wish to stay in Singapore during their country’s movement control order period.
This morning, Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing made this assurance in a doorstop interview on Tuesday (17 March) as he talked about how Singapore has plans to deal with disruption in food supplies from Malaysia due to the country’s lockdown which was announced last night.
Mr Chan said that employers have asked if they can provide temporary accommodation for their Malaysian workers in Singapore who are affected by the lockdown. He explained that economic agencies are working with hotels and dormitories to provide options for these workers, adding that companies should reach out to their trade association for assistance for support.
He said, “Let me address the issue of the Malaysian workers. Since last night, many employers are enquiring if they can provide temporary accommodation in Singapore for their Malaysian workers who may wish to stay here during this period. Our economic agencies are working with the companies, dormitory operators and hotels to provide options for the companies so companies who need help for their workers’ accommodation can contact our economic agencies and also work with their trade associations.”
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also released a statement today, saying that companies can encourage their affected workers to stay with friends, relatives or colleagues who are willing to accommodate them for a short time.
“This may be the option most amenable to some workers,” said MOM.
For those who do not have that option, the government is collaborating with private and public sector companies and agencies to provide options for these workers, including hotels, dormitories, and other accommodations like rooms and whole units in Housing and Development Board (HDB) properties as well as private residential properties.
The ministry 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.”
“In providing assistance, we will prioritise the needs of firms that provide essential services such as healthcare, security, cleaning, waste management, facilities management, logistics and transport,” added MOM.
The statement went on to explain that the government is also looking into providing financial assistance for companies that have to urgently accommodate workers affected by the restrictions, adding that further details will be released shortly.
“The Government will also be working with the hotel/dormitory providers on providing lower-cost rentals,” said MOM.
“Our objective is to minimise any impact on the delivery of services for our people.”
About 300,000 people travel between Singapore and Malaysia daily via the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong in a press briefing on Sunday (15 March). There is also generally higher traffic at both land crossings during school holidays.