Limited cross-border travel between Singapore and Malaysia started last Monday (17 Aug).
Under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme, Singapore and Malaysia residents with long-term immigration passes for business and work are allowed to enter each other country again.
In the case of Malaysia Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) with valid Singapore work passes, they should remain in Singapore for at least 90 days before returning to Malaysia for home leave. Work pass holders approved under the PCA scheme will serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) of at least 7 days and undertake a COVID-19 PCR test.
With the scheme, Malaysian PMET Eddie Chow was glad that he can now come back to Singapore to work. He is the head of audio visual department of Gain City. In March, he went back to see his family before the Singapore-Malaysia borders were closed.
He told the media while serving his 7-day SHN at a hotel in Geylang, “Many of my friends chose to stay in Singapore so they could continue with their work. But I decided to return home to my dying father. I wanted to walk his last journey with him.”
After his father passed away, he wanted to come back to Singapore to work but couldn’t. He had to draw down from his savings to provide for his family.
Chow also feared that he might lose his job in Singapore with his prolong absence. There was a car loan and a mortgage to service and two young children to provide for. He declined to reveal his salary but said that it relied heavily on commissions and with the high exchange rate.
He said the reopening of the Singapore-Malaysia border was like a lifeline to him and is grateful to his employer for sponsoring his return to Singapore under the PCA scheme. Together with nine colleagues, Chow walked across the Causeway to Singapore last Monday.
Meanwhile, the government is rolling up various programmes to help Singaporeans to find jobs.
For example, the SGUnited Skills programme announced by the government is a full-time training programme ranging from 6 to 12 months. The training courses are designed in partnership with the industry to help trainees acquire industry-relevant skills that can improve their employability.
The government said Singaporean trainees will “benefit from employment facilitation efforts offered by training providers”. They will also receive a training allowance of $1,200 per month for the duration of the programme. Course fees will be highly subsidised, to keep the SGUnited Skills programme affordable, government added. “Individuals can use their SkillsFuture Credit to offset the course fees,” it said.