Coronavirus: S'pore Govt looking to help firms that need to urgently house workers hit by Malaysia lockdown

The Ministry of Manpower will work with hotels and dormitory providers to provide lower cost rentals to companies that need to urgently house workers affected by Malaysia's announcement. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - The Government is looking into providing financial support for companies that need to urgently house workers affected by Malaysia's announcement to implement a two-week movement control order.

It will also work with hotel and dormitory providers to provide lower cost rentals.

"Our objective is to minimise any impact on the delivery of services for our people," the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Tuesday (March 17).

On Monday night, Malaysia said a movement control order will start on Wednesday and last till March 31. Among other things, all Malaysians will be barred from travelling abroad and there will also be a ban on all foreign tourists and visitors.

About 415,000 travellers, many of them Malaysians working in Singapore, use the land checkpoints between the two countries daily. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Malaysians have no living arrangements in Singapore.

In its statement, the MOM said it was working with private and public sectors to provide a range of short-term housing options for those workers with no living arrangements.

Companies can encourage affected workers to stay with their relatives, friends or colleagues, it said. "This may be the option most amenable to some workers."

Those who cannot do so could be housed in hotels or dormitories, or Housing Board rooms and whole flats and private residential properties.

"We advise employers to assess their manpower needs carefully and make a considered decision as to whether they need their affected workers to remain in Singapore," said the MOM.

"In providing assistance, we will prioritise the needs of firms that provide essential services such as healthcare, security, cleaning, waste management, facilities management, logistics and transport."

Earlier on Tuesday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said details of Malaysia's lockdown are unclear and the Singapore Government will update the public when possible.

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