Tired Asian woman sleeping in travel.

SINGAPORE: As the ringgit keeps dropping, more Malaysians are eyeing jobs in Singapore. Channel News Asia reports this trend is especially seen in folks like Ms Gunavathi Chinasamy, who travels daily from Johor Bahru to Singapore for work.

Ms Gunavathi Chinasamy is a 29-year-old administrative executive in an employment agency who has been doing this for eight years.

She must be at the Johor Bahru Customs at least two hours before 10 am to ensure she arrives punctually at her office in Singapore.

After completing her workday at 6 pm, she returns home to Malaysia, typically reaching her destination around 10 pm. She earns between S$2,500 and S$2,800 compared to the same job in Malaysia with an offer of RM3,000 (approx. S$854).

Despite the lengthy commute, she remains steadfast in her commitment to this routine, driven by the prospect of higher earnings across the border.

Ms Gunavathi’s story reflects a broader trend among Malaysians drawn to Singapore for employment opportunities, largely influenced by exchange rates and economic conditions back home.

See also  ‘I’m losing hope’ — Jobless Singaporean says after being retrenched in April and still hasn’t found employment

The decline of the Malaysian ringgit, which hit its lowest point against the US dollar since the late 1990s Asian Financial Crisis, coupled with a rising inflation rate, has spurred many Malaysians to explore job prospects in Singapore.

Recruitment agencies have seen a big jump in the number of Malaysians seeking work in Singapore. Nala Employment, for instance, has seen at least a 50% increase in calls from Malaysians seeking employment.

Over at Cultivar Staffing & Search, job postings have attracted up to 30% more Malaysian applicants than a year ago.

Managing director Zac Ng said, We reckon that rather than working in the same job for RM3,000 to RM6,000, they might as well work in Singapore for around S$3,000 to S$6,000.”

Recruitment agencies have witnessed a surge in inquiries and applications from Malaysians seeking work across various sectors, including retail, food services, manufacturing, engineering, technology, and healthcare.

Singapore’s economy and proximity to Malaysia make it an attractive destination for cross-border commuters, particularly those residing in Johor Bahru.

See also  First-time jobseeker asks if she should spam-apply jobs at govt agency to get hired for internship

The ease of commuting and a buoyant job market further cement Singapore’s appeal as Malaysians’ preferred choice for overseas employment.

Despite concerns about the influx of Malaysian workers potentially displacing locals, economists and authorities assert that existing regulations, such as the dependency ratio ceiling and foreign worker levies, mitigate such risks.

These measures aim to safeguard local employment opportunities while ensuring that foreign labour complements rather than competes with the domestic workforce.

Initiatives like the Progressive Wage Model and strategic collaborations, such as the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone, also aim to foster economic cooperation and alleviate labour market pressures.

These efforts are expected to generate additional business opportunities and enhance economic integration between Singapore and Johor.

For Malaysians like Ms Gunavathi, the daily commute may be arduous, but it can lead to better opportunities and financial stability.

Despite the challenges, she remains optimistic about managing her time effectively, saying, “I (tell myself) this is how much time I have and how am I going to make it useful.” /TISG

See also  SG drops 19 spots in ranking of countries most suitable for remote work

Read also: Saving Money vs Long Commutes: Could Singaporeans rent in JB and work in SG to cut cost of living?

Featured image by Depositphotos