Undermining containment effort by Malaysia and increasing the risk of infections in Singapore, National Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday announced that he is allowing Malaysian workers to enter Singapore:
“Malaysia and Singapore have reached an in-principle understanding that Malaysians with work permits may enter the Singapore during their country’s lockdown. Accommodation has to be provided for the Malaysian workers and they cannot commute across the border daily.”
Singapore saw 40 new cases yesterday, bringing the total to 385. An undisclosed number were imported from Malaysia, as the Singapore government began censoring information and profiles of the infected.
Tens of thousands of Malaysians refused to return to Malaysia after their country locked down borders banning citizens from leaving. The stubborn Malaysian workers who insisted on living in Singapore for two weeks were each paid S$700 in accommodation fees by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, and even given free accommodation at public sports halls.
Singapore is highly reliant on cheap labour from Malaysia, and economic concerns are primary considerations according to Minister Lawrence Wong:
“I think that has been managed well because we have not seen disruption in our essential services like our public transport system or any other thing where Malaysian workers are involved.”