SINGAPORE: Malaysians with work permits will continue to work in Singapore during the restricted movement order period imposed by Putrajaya, with “appropriate health screening and suitable accommodation”, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Friday (Mar 20).
MFA said in a press statement that the decision was made after Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean spoke with Malaysian Senior Minister and Minister for Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob over the phone on Thursday.
“They discussed coordination of both countries’ arrangements to safeguard the health of the citizens of Singapore and Malaysia, while minimising disruptions to our companies, workers and citizens,” the statement read.
“The two senior ministers agreed that Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to work in Singapore during this period, with appropriate health screening and suitable accommodation arrangements,” it added.
MFA said Mr Ismail Sabri has assured Mr Teo that Malaysia will facilitate the smooth transport of food across land checkpoints between Singapore and Malaysia.
“Both sides will facilitate the bilateral transport of commercial goods across our land checkpoints,” it added.
Both countries also agreed to establish three working groups under the Special Working Committee on COVID-19, chaired by the two senior ministers.
The committees will coordinate the movement of people, movement of goods and daily operational issues at the land borders, MFA said.
Separately, Mr Ismail Sabri, speaking at a press conference in Putrajaya on Friday, also announced that Malaysian workers who have based themselves in Singapore during the restricted movement order will be allowed to continue working there, with housing provided by the Singapore government.
“There was a discussion with Singapore leaders yesterday, and we have decided that all Malaysians in Singapore will continue with their work, and the Singapore government has agreed to grant them housing for two weeks,” said Mr Ismail Sabri.
“And when they come back, Singapore will do medical examination,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Johor state government said it was seeking special approval from the Malaysia federal government to reopen the land checkpoints with Singapore for workers in certain industries, students, as well as Singaporeans who live in Johor.
Johor Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad said the Johor state executive council was coming up with a mitigation plan to grant certain individuals special permission to travel across the land border checkpoints with Singapore.
The Malaysian government imposed a restricted movement order on Wednesday that bars its citizens from going overseas and foreigners from entering the country until the end of March.
The order aims to prevent a further spread of COVID-19. As of Thursday afternoon, Malaysia reported two deaths from COVID-19 and 900 confirmed cases in total.