Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to work in Singapore, with health screening and accommodation arrangements made for them, while food and products will continue to be transported across the border smoothly.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement yesterday that Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean spoke to Malaysian Senior Minister and Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob on the phone on Thursday to discuss these issues in the light of Malaysia’s two-week movement control order.
The two senior ministers discussed the arrangements to ensure the health of the citizens on both sides of the border, while minimising disruptions to companies, workers and citizens.
MFA said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri assured Mr Teo that Malaysia will facilitate the smooth transport of food, while both sides will ensure the transport of commercial goods across land checkpoints.
At a separate news conference in Malaysia yesterday, the Malaysian minister said: “I understand there were discussions. And both sides have agreed that all workers will continue to work there. The Singapore Government has agreed to set up accommodation for them in Singapore for two weeks. So, they will go to Singapore and stay at the accommodation prepared for them, and when they return to Malaysia, Singapore will screen them.”
Both senior ministers are chairing the Special Working Committee on the Covid-19 crisis, and agreed to establish three working groups under the committee to coordinate the movement of people, goods and daily operational issues at land checkpoints.
The Straits Times reported on Thursday that Malaysia would temporarily lift the travel ban on citizens who commute to Singapore for work, on the condition that they are housed on the island for the duration of Malaysia’s ongoing restricted movement order.
Malaysia closed its borders for two weeks on Wednesday, in an attempt to curb its rising number of coronavirus cases.
All Malaysians have been barred from travelling overseas, including around 300,000 daily travellers who commute to Singapore on a near-daily basis for work or study.
With yesterday’s announcement, those with long-term passes will now be allowed to leave the country, provided they do not return during the two-week period.
Malaysia has more than 1,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with two deaths.
The Singapore Government is working with stakeholders to provide those without living arrangements here with temporary accommodation.
By Tuesday night, about 10,000 workers had received such help, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on the first day of the travel restrictions on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said most wholesalers and retailers received their goods from Malaysia as usual in the morning.