Basic public health measures like border movement restrictions should have been enacted immediately but Singapore government is still admitting Malaysians – with many possibly infected. These Malaysians are also similarly exposed to infection in Singapore, where local transmission is widespread and under-reported.
Daily border crossing for Malaysian workers to Singapore should have long been banned. It created severe congestions at the Causeway, when the path is catered for tourists and goods delivery.
Allowing Malaysians to work in Singapore and enjoy a-third of the cost of living by basing in Johor, also created a depression of local salaries in Singapore. Malaysian workers are notorious to be cheap labour, who undercut Singaporean salaries.
Why are salaries of retail jobs and security guards so low? Cheap Malaysian labour who crosses the border daily is the major blame. A S$1,000 salary is impossible to live with for a Singaporean, but it is three times the amount for a Malaysian living in Johor.
It is timely now to enforce that all workers in Singapore must have a local address, and commute across border for work should be banned.
Singapore’s weaknesses have been fully exposed in the crisis today. The five airports are sitting useless and the internal economy collapsed from the weak purchasing power of Singapore’s domestic market.
Singapore’s airlines, tourism and the retail sectors are going bankrupt in this coronavirus outbreak, and most companies are now retrenching workers to survive.
The bad news is actually a golden opportunity to sack foreigners and build up the Singapore domestic market. First on the chopping board should be Malaysians, and their 400,000 numbers in Singapore workforce pose a security threat in times of crisis like a virus outbreak.
Virus outbreaks are becoming as frequent as every decade with the last one 2009’s Bird Flu and 2003’s SARS. The coronavirus today will come to an eventual end definitely, but the next virus outbreak is not too far away.