More than 70 families received assistance from Singapore’s Consulate-General in Johor Bahru yesterday following Malaysia’s announcement to impose a nationwide movement control order.
Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in a Facebook post on Wed (18 Mar) said that Singapore’s Mission and Consular officers were “on hand to facilitate” the swift return of over 130 individuals to the Republic.
“They quickly obtained approval from the Malaysian immigration authorities, and arranged for dedicated transport to ferry the elderly and those with mobility issues,” said Dr Balakrishnan.
Expressing his appreciation to the Johor immigration authorities “for their assistance and cooperation,” Dr Balakrishnan said that the process reflected “extraordinary times that make us all the more conscious of the interconnectedness between Singapore and Malaysia”.
“We are cooperating closely with our Malaysian counterparts to mitigate the disruptions caused by travel restrictions on both sides,” he added.
Sharing Dr Balakrishnan’s Facebook post, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today (19 Mar) said that it will “continue to safeguard the interests of Singaporeans”.
Earlier on 11 Mar, Dr Balakrishnan in an interview with CNBC affirmed that one of MFA’s functions is “to keep track of Singaporeans who go overseas and who may run into trouble”.
“We have given the commitment that we will leave no Singaporean behind. We are also asking everyone to eRegister so that we can communicate, we can stay in close touch,” Dr Balakrishnan said, in response to a question on his message to Singaporeans who were travelling to Europe at the time.
Europe is now considered by many observers as the new epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, with multiple countries in the continent already placed on lockdown to date.