Coronavirus: Firms urged to find longer-term housing for Malaysian staff

The Ministry also said that work-pass holders planning to enter Singapore from Malaysia must first obtain approval before they begin their journeys.
The Ministry also said that work-pass holders planning to enter Singapore from Malaysia must first obtain approval before they begin their journeys.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has urged employers to find longer-term accommodation for their Malaysian workers employed in Singapore, saying the Government will not extend temporary housing support beyond March 31. Its statement comes as Malaysia said its restricted movement order will be extended until April 14.

"MOM will... work with employers to facilitate the transfer of their affected workers into more sustainable housing options in Singapore," it stated yesterday.

"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."

More sustainable accommodation options vary depending on the company. They could refer to hotels for some, and public or private rental options for others.

When Malaysia's partial lockdown began on March 18, MOM said it would provide temporary support to help employers defray the costs of housing affected workers. Employers who need more sustainable housing options can refer to the MOM website or contact it at mom_qops@mom.gov.sg.

MOM announced earlier yesterday that with immediate effect, work-pass holders entering Singapore from Malaysia by all modes of travel must obtain approval before they begin their journeys. This applies to those now outside Singapore and those whose work permits have been approved but have not yet entered the country.

However, those conveying essential services and supplies over land and sea crossings, such as lorry drivers delivering food, are exempt from entry approval and the stay-home notice requirements.

On Tuesday, Singapore and Malaysia agreed on a set of protocols for the return of travellers who fail entry health screenings at border checkpoints. They also agreed to apply the same cut-off - a temperature of more than 37.5 deg C - to define travellers with a fever.

The measures arose out of the second meeting of the Singapore-Malaysia joint working group and took place over video conferencing. The group, set up to facilitate greater cross-border cooperation to deal with the outbreak, has agreed to continue entry screenings on both sides, activate networks for experts to exchange information on the clinical management of patients, and share surveillance data to trace travellers' movements.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2020, with the headline 'Firms urged to find longer-term housing for Malaysian staff'. Print Edition | Subscribe