Coronavirus: SPH gives care packages, $30 daily allowance to Malaysian staff affected by lockdown

Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) deputy chief executive Anthony Tan (right) distributing care packages to Malaysian staff at SPH's  print centre on March 21, 2020.
Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) deputy chief executive Anthony Tan (right) distributing care packages to Malaysian staff at SPH's print centre on March 21, 2020.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Twenty-five Malaysian staff at Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) print centre received care packages from the publishing company's deputy chief executive Anthony Tan on Saturday (March 21).

Most of the staff have been putting up at Mercure Singapore on Stevens Road since Malaysia's two-week partial lockdown kicked in on Wednesday (March 18) to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

On Saturday, Mr Tan visited SPH's print centre at Jurong Port Road, where he handed out care packages containing items such as vouchers for daily necessities, hand sanitiser, biscuits and Milo packets to the staff.

Mr Tan, who was wearing a mask as part of SPH’s split team arrangements as he is in a different group from his colleagues, said: "For our workers, the sacrifice is a big one, because while it is their job, being away from your family members for an extended period of time is never an easy decision to make at short notice."

SPH has also decided to give the workers an additional "modest allowance" of $30 a day, he added.

"(This is so) they don't have to worry about the cost of living in Singapore, and their parents and their family and loved ones back home also don't have to worry," said Mr Tan.

Senior printing staff Alfred Saranapala, 46, said he had helped his wife and three children stock up on groceries before he left their home across the Causeway.

Mr Saranapala said: "I try to video call them every day. I want to be professionally responsible, we need to keep the newspapers running and inform people about what is going on (with the Covid-19 situation)."

 

Printing assistant Cheong Chiang Jye, 40, whose wife and two children are in Johor Baru, said: "I'm used to travelling from Malaysia to Singapore on my motorbike every day. I'm not familiar with all of Singapore's roads, so it takes some getting used to."