SINGAPORE: Most imports of fresh food from Malaysia arrived as normal this morning, with other goods such as medicine and infant diapers also allowed through checkpoints, Minister for Trade and Industry Chun Chun Sing said on Wednesday (Mar 18).
“I am glad to see that the supply of fresh food has not been fully disrupted and most of our wholesalers and retailers managed to receive their goods as per normal since this morning.
“Other goods such as pharmaceuticals and infant diapers have also managed to come through to Singapore,” he said in a Facebook post.
Mr Chan also said that Singapore is aware of some companies’ feedback that trucks not containing food have not been allowed to come in.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and are in touch with our Malaysian counterparts to ensure that food and other supplies will be able to come through to Singapore as agreed by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in his phone call with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday,” he said.
Mr Chan’s comments came on the first day of Malaysia’s movement control order, which bars its citizens from going overseas and foreigners from entering the country until the end of March.
Mr Chan said that he also spoke to his Malaysian counterpart, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali, on Monday afternoon.
“I thanked him for facilitating the flow of goods and supplies into Singapore during this period and told him that we will continue to work closely with Malaysia to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
“We both noted that it is in our mutual interest to ensure that supply chains remain robust and in working order, and agreed that we must maintain confidence in our people and businesses in order to successfully overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19,” he said.
Mr Azmin said in a statement that he assured Mr Chan that Malaysia will do its “utmost best” to facilitate the flow of essential goods and supplies, such as fresh food and pharmaceuticals, strictly in accordance with health protocol.
“Thus, we will undertake strategic actions to ensure the health and welfare of workers for mutual benefit,” he said.
Some companies in Singapore have also activated alternative transport arrangements via sea and air freight to bring their goods in from Malaysia.
Mr Chan said Singapore’s economic agencies are working with the companies, in particular those dealing with essential products and services, to minimise disruption to their supply lines.
Mr Chan added that Singapore companies have also managed to secure the necessary accommodation for their Malaysian workers who will be staying in Singapore for the next two weeks to work.
“It must not be an easy decision for them to leave their homes and families to stay in Singapore during this period. We thank the Malaysian workers who decided to make this personal sacrifice to ensure that business operations and essential services can continue in Singapore.”