Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will be offering a nightly allowance of S$50 per worker to firms affected by travel restrictions imposed by Malaysia in the country’s bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told a press briefing on Tue night (17 Mar) that MOM “has been working with tripartite partners to support the affected companies” in finding “suitable accommodation” for their workers who may be subject to Malaysia’s movement control order.
“For every affected worker, we will provide the firms with the support of S$50 a night for 14 nights,” she said, adding that more details on how to apply for the allowance will be shared later.
Citing the move as a “temporary relief measure”, Mrs Teo said that companies will be given time to evaluate their manpower needs and to put in place “sustainable arrangements” for the time being.
She also encouraged affected workers to try staying with their family, friends or colleagues who are able to accommodate them, or to stay in hotels or hostels.
“I’m confident that by the end of the day, any one of the affected workers that need to stay in Singapore will be able to find suitable accommodation,” she said.
The Malaysian government on Mon night (16 Mar) announced a nationwide restricted movement order in its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in a televised address said that the order will take effect starting tomorrow until the end of this month on 31 Mar.
The order, made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967, will see tightened border controls by imposing prohibitions on both outbound and inbound travel.
Malaysians are not allowed to travel outside the country throughout the imposition of the order, and citizens who have recently returned from overseas are required to undergo health tests and a 14-day self-quarantine.
Tourists and other foreign visitors will not be allowed to enter Malaysia during the period in which the order takes effect.
All business premises, schools and higher learning institutions, and other forms of premises whether public or private, as well as places of worship are subject to the order and will be required to shut down during the stipulated period.
Exemptions, however, apply to all essential services such as utilities, telecommunications, postal services, transport, broadcasting, financial and banking services, and health services — among several other sectors.
Supermarkets and other businesses selling food supplies will also be exempted from the shutdown requirement during the order.