KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — More than 15,000 Malaysians have lost their jobs in Singapore between January and July this year, with the majority of them being those in the service industry.

The Malaysian Reserve reported Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister M Saravanan as saying in a parliamentary reply that based on statistics by the country’s High Commission in Singapore, as many as 11,123 Malaysian workers in the service sector in the Republic lost their employment.

Malaysian workers in Singapore’s manufacturing sector came in second with 3,604 workers having lost their jobs, while construction workers came in third with 939 workers, he said.

Saravanan was responding to Senator Liew Chin Tong’s question on the number of Malaysian workers in Singapore who have lost their jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO), which began in March, saw the country shutting its international borders among a slew of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recently announced that the recovery phase of MCO will be extended to 31 December this year.

Singapore implemented its COVID-19 “circuit breaker” measures in early April. It was later extended until 1 June after a sudden spike in the number of cases in the country.

Bernama reported last month that applications for cross-border travel between the two nations under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes have reached their maximum quota for the first three days — 17, 18 and 19 August.

Johor Immigration Department director Baharuddin Tahir was quoted as saying that the Malaysian Immigration Department had received 180 RGL and 6,000 PCA applications for the first three days since 10 August.

“Under the RGL, we allow 400 people a week, so that means between 50 and 60 people per day. As for the PCA, it’s 2,000 people per day.

“The application results for cross-border travel will only be known a day before their travel dates,” he said.

The RGL and PCA were discussed earlier in a historic meeting between Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan at the midway point of the Johor Causeway.

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