JOHOR BARU - The Johor government plans to send 1,000 food baskets to help "needy" Malaysians who are stranded in Singapore, Johor Menteri Besar Husni Mohammad said on Thursday (Dec 3).
The Johor government is working with the Malaysia High Commission in Singapore to collect and distribute these baskets, with 300 to be sent out soon in the first phase of the project, he was quoted by The Malaysian Insight (TMI) news site.
The baskets will also contain personal hygiene products and blankets.
The plan to send the food aid followed news reports last month of Malaysians working in Singapore who chose to remain in the Republic to work, and being unable to find accommodation due to high rental costs.
They could previously return to Johor in the evenings and come back to Singapore early the next morning to work.
Some of these workers were quoted as saying if they returned to Johor to see their families now, they would have to be quarantined for 14 days, and they might lose their jobs in Singapore.
They would also have to be quarantined when they return to Singapore.
Another worry at returning home was whether they could find jobs in Malaysia as the coronavirus pandemic has shrunk the job market.
The Malaysian news reports said hundreds of them had been sleeping on public benches and on the beach, and bathing in public toilets, before going back to work in the daytime.
Said Datuk Husni in a statement: "The delivery and distribution of the first 300 food baskets involving a cost of RM30,000 (S$9,850) will be done immediately and the rest will be implemented in stages."
"I hope the food basket programme will help needy Malaysians in Singapore," he said, as quoted by TMI.
Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said last month that the federal government would take immediate steps to help these Malaysian workers in Singapore.
While the Singapore-Malaysia border remains closed, he said that there was nothing to stop these workers from returning home. But they must follow the strict health protocols upon arriving in the country, he had said.