Singapore — Although Malaysia has extended its Movement Control Order (MCO), effectively a lockdown, for two weeks from April 1 to 14, Singapore will not be continuing with its scheme of extending assistance to employers with regard to housing for Malaysian workers.
The Government gave S$50 a day for every worker to help shoulder the additional costs for the first two weeks of the lockdown from March 18 to 31. Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Tuesday (March 31) that there are no plans to continue with this scheme. She said that the majority of Malaysian workers are currently “properly housed”.
A report on todayonline.com on April 1 states that this has left some Malaysian workers scrambling for solutions to the problem, with some considering simply going home, as their employers look for accommodation for them or extend loans so that they can find their own housing.
While some workers have employers who helping them as they seek housing, others have been left on their own.
The report quotes Mr Armel Sharil, a warehouse storekeeper who spent the night at the Kranji MRT Station some days ago as saying: “If they can’t pay for my accommodation, I might consider returning to Johor Baru as I can’t afford to pay for my own.
“I love my job and I don’t want to lose it but I have no choice. When I calculate the cost of food and accommodation for two weeks, it adds up to S$500 which can be converted to RM1,500. That’s a lot of money.”
Mr Armel, a father of two, says that one meal in Singapore is equivalent to two days of groceries back home.
Another Malaysian worker, 45-year-old Azreenawaty Salim, said: “I don’t have family members or relatives here. My friends are also struggling to find a place to stay. I know the Singapore Government has done its best to help us, we are very grateful for that. Now we need to deal with this problem ourselves.”
The MCO had only been meant to last two weeks, from March 18 to 31. It was extended following a spike in cases in the country.
On March 25, Malaysia had 1,796 confirmed cases of Covid-19, more than double the 673 cases the week before. At present, it has 2,766 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 43 deaths. /TISG
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