Singapore—A number of Malaysian workers spent Tuesday night (Mar 17) at the Kranji MRT station after a country-wide lockdown was enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
TODAY reported that officers from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) had asked questions of the workers sleeping at the station at around 10:30 pm. The report adds that police also checked on them at 1:00 am.
Some concerned Singaporeans were seen on the ground, offering snacks, water and sleeping bags to the workers, including a team led by activist Gilbert Goh. Mr Goh also talked to the workers about possible accommodation for them during the lockdown’s two-week period.
In a press conference on Tuesday, the day after Malaysia announced the lockdown, Manpower Minister Josephine Two announced that businesses that would be affected by Malaysia’s restrictions would be getting S$50 for every worker nightly as an allowance to cover the additional funds they’ve had to spend.
“MOM has been working with tripartite partners to support the affected companies. If they need their workers to stay in Singapore, the way to help them is to find suitable accommodation. For every affected worker, we will provide the firms with the support of S$50 a night for 14 nights. Whatever the arrangements, we appreciate that businesses had to respond very quickly and incurred some additional costs as a result,” the Manpower Minister added, saying she was “confident” that the workers affected by the newly-announced restriction would be able to find housing, and called the allowance “a temporary relief measure,” Ms Teo said.
But the workers, most of whom have jobs in cleaning and manufacturing, told TODAY that their employers did not promise them lodging, giving them no option but to sleep outside.
Netizens have been divided on the issue, with some saying that the displaced Malaysians should be receiving help and that their employers need to be held accountable, while others say that this is simply not Singapore’s problem.
Others said a solution must be found for them as soon as possible
Others offered possible solutions
Some netizens, however, felt that Singapore is not responsible for this situation
Yet others were concerned that having the workers stay together in the station might even contribute to the coronavirus outbreak.
Fortunately, there are other individuals, moved to kindness, who have simply decided to open their homes. A group that cares for the homeless, Homeless Hearts of Singapore, posted the article from TODAY on their Facebook page on Thursday morning, writing that they are doing “unofficial outreach to Kranji MRT.”
So far the group says that “more than 20 Singaporeans, Malaysians, and even a Vietnamese” have opened their homes to displaced Malaysian workers who are in need of shelter. -/TISG