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Malaysia lockdown: Temporary housing support for Malaysian workers will not be extended beyond March 31, says MOM

SINGAPORE — Temporary housing support for Malaysian workers here will not be extended beyond March 31, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Wednesday (March 25) after Malaysia extended its national lockdown until April 14.

Malaysia lockdown: Temporary housing support for Malaysian workers will not be extended beyond March 31, says MOM

People streaming across the Woodlands Checkpoint into Singapore on March 17, 2020, the morning after Malaysia announced a nationwide lockdown.

SINGAPORE — Temporary housing support for Malaysian workers here will not be extended beyond March 31, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Wednesday (March 25) after Malaysia extended its national lockdown until April 14. 

Thousands of Malaysian work permit holders, who usually commute across the border daily, have been housed temporarily in Singapore after Malaysia implemented its lockdown on March 18, for an initial two-week period until March 31.

“For their own long-term sustainability and business continuity reasons, employers will need to decide on how best to house their affected workers in Singapore, and the sharing of additional costs with their workers,” MOM said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Wednesday that the country would be extending its nationwide lockdown until April 14, in response to the continued rise in cases of Covid-19 there. 

As of 5pm on Tuesday, Malaysia had recorded 1,624 Covid-19 infections and as of Wednesday, there have been 17 fatalities related to the virus.

The first announcement of the lockdown, made on March 16, resulted in thousands of Malaysians who work here braving long queues to enter Singapore through its land checkpoints before the March 18 closure.  

Over the past week, MOM — along with the Housing and Development Board, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of National Development and the Singapore Tourism Board — has helped around 2,000 firms house 10,000 affected workers.

It was also previously announced that the Singapore Government would be supporting employers who have to find accommodation for their Malaysian workers, by giving them S$50 for each worker a day, capped at 14 days.

Since then, MOM has been “following up with employers to ensure that their affected workers are housed in temporary housing that is safe and appropriate”. 

MOM will now “embark on a new phase”, it said, to work with employers to facilitate the transfer of their affected workers into more sustainable housing options in Singapore”. 

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Employers who require more sustainable housing options can refer to the MOM website or contact MOM via email. 

In a separate statement, MOM also advised foreign workers and foreign domestic workers to remain in their residences during rest days, and to avoid gathering in large groups. 

“If (workers) have important errands to attend to, they are advised to minimise time spent outside,” said MOM.

Employers should educate their workers on the advisory to remain at home, and be aware of where their workers are going and have them return home upon completion of these errands. 

It added that should workers meet in indoor spaces, they must observe the latest rules on gathering size, which limit gatherings outside of work and school to 10 persons or fewer. 

The ministry said: “Workers should avoid gathering in public spaces, or visiting crowded places including Little India, Lucky Plaza, City Plaza, Peninsula Plaza. As outdoor gatherings among foreign domestic workers tend to be large, MOM will take action to disperse them as an added precaution.”

These actions include more inspections on the ground, while workers who do not cooperate will have their work passes revoked.

Related topics

Covid-19 Wuhan virus coronavirus Malaysia lockdown MOM

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