Government helps firms house workers affected by Malaysia lockdown
Govt has managed to find accommodation for over 10,000 employees affected by lockdown
Hundreds of employers and workers have approached the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for help with getting temporary accommodation here, following the lockdown announced by Malaysia on Monday night.
And in less than a day, the ministry, together with its tripartite partners, found accommodation for more than 10,000 workers affected by the measure.
At a press conference by the multi-ministry task force yesterday, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said MOM has a list of options at dormitories and hotels to house workers temporarily.
"The employers have mostly been able to find accommodation options on their own, but a number have had difficulty and have approached us," she said.
She added all affected workers would have been able to find suitable accommodation by the end of yesterday.
Malaysian workers who commute daily between Singapore and Malaysia for work may not be able to return to Singapore should they go back home.
The lockdown, which is expected to kick in today, would prevent them from leaving their borders until March 31. Thousands of these workers are hired by companies providing essential services such as healthcare, cleaning and transport.
Many have indicated interest in finding accommodation in Singapore for about two weeks.
Those affected should try to stay with relatives, friends or colleagues here, before considering hotels, dormitories, or rentals.
MOM is providing financial support to companies that need to house affected workers here.
For every worker, the companies will be given $50 a night for the next 14 nights. Details on how companies can apply are expected to be released soon.
At the press conference, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said the authorities will be flexible on rules for occupancy and short-term rentals of Housing Board flats.
"If (the lockdown) goes beyond two weeks, then I'm sure by then we will have sufficient units available for employers to put in place rental arrangements," he said.
Mr Wong said the authorities are trying to see if a transition period could be effected after the lockdown commences.
"We are in touch with the Malaysian side to see if some flexibility can be obtained... for one or two days, to allow for that transition to happen," he said.
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said about 1,000 healthcare workers, which make up about 1 per cent of those in the healthcare system here, make the daily commute. They will be encouraged to stay here and accommodation will be provided.
Yesterday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan posted on Facebook that public transport operators have secured enough accommodation for workers.
"As a number of our bus captains and technicians are Malaysians who commute from Johor to work here, we have contingency plans in case their commutes are disrupted," he said.
"They will be comfortable and able to rest properly. Train and bus services will not be too much affected, though there may be slight degradation of some bus services."