Singapore’s government is preparing to help house thousands in hotels and dorms after Malaysia said it will shut borders

An estimated 100,000 Malaysians who work in Singapore reportedly have no living arrangements here.
The Straits Times

Less than 24 hours after Malaysia announced it was shutting its borders to control the spread of the coronavirus, neighbouring Singapore has swiftly moved into action to try and cushion the impact its businesses will undoubtedly suffer.

On Tuesday (Mar 17) afternoon, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed it has worked with various parties from the public and private sectors to make available a range of short-term housing options for Malaysians who work in Singapore.

In a statement, MOM said that companies should encourage affected workers to stay with relatives, friends or colleagues during the implementation of Malaysia’s 14-day Movement Control Order. However, not all Malaysian workers have this option.

According to The Straits Times, around 415,000 people use the land checkpoints between Singapore and Malaysia daily, and an estimated 100,000 Malaysians who work in Singapore have no living arrangements here.

For these workers, the Government has made arrangements for a range of short-term housing options including hotels, dormitories and rooms or whole property in HDB flats and private residences.

“The Government will also be working with the hotel/dormitory providers on providing lower cost rentals,” MOM said, adding that its objective “is to minimise any impact on the delivery of services for our people”.

However, MOM added that employers should assess their manpower needs carefully to decide if they really need their Malaysian workers to remain in Singapore.

Firms that provide essential services – such as healthcare, security, cleaning, waste management, facilities management, logistics and transport – will be prioritised, it said.

In addition, companies that need to urgently accommodate their Malaysian workers could also receive some financial assistance. More details of the available options will be revealed shortly, MOM said.

On the same day, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said at a press conference that companies affected by Malaysia’s order will be given financial support of S$50 a night per worker for 14 nights.

She added that she was “confident” that affected workers who need to stay in Singapore “will be able to find suitable accommodation”.

Companies that have workers who will be affected by Malaysia’s Movement Control Order can apply for housing assistance via MOM’s website.

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