Malaysia-Singapore supplies to continue: PM Lee
He reassures Singaporeans after speaking to Malaysian leader about lockdown
Cooking oil, milk powder, rice and soap.
These were some of the items that Mr Tahir Aziz, 45, bought from a supermarket in Johor Baru on Monday night following the Malaysian government's announcement of a national lockdown from today till the end of the month, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.
A father of three children aged four to 10, Mr Tahir, who lives in Tampines, told The New Paper: "People here were already flocking to supermarkets. I spent about RM300 (S$100) on groceries and bought extra rice and cooking oil, then had supper and topped up petrol before driving back home. The groceries in Malaysia tend to have better promotions and the savings are quite significant."
While the Singaporean, who owns a barber shop here and in JB, did make a last-minute grocery run, he was never worried about items running out.
He said: "People shouldn't hoard items unnecessarily and just buy what is needed so there is enough for everyone. Buying a little extra is understandable, but we should not overbuy."
Many Singaporeans went to the supermarkets to stock up after Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin made the announcement. The lockdown closes all non-essential businesses and prohibits Malaysians from leaving or foreigners from entering the country.
But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reassured Singaporeans in a Facebook post yesterday that food supplies will continue.
He said: "Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and I discussed the situation on the phone today. I was happy to hear his reassurance that the flow of goods and cargo between Singapore and Malaysia, including food supplies, would continue."
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing also reiterated yesterday at a doorstop interview that Singapore has sufficient food supplies, as long as shoppers buy responsibly.
He said: "We have plans to manage this contingency, with a combination of stockpiling, building up our domestic production capacities and diversifying our supply sources to many countries. This combination of stockpiling and local production will provide us time to bring in alternative supplies, should our usual supply lines be disrupted, as in Malaysia in the current context."
In a statement yesterday, FairPrice assured customers it is prepared and ready to meet their daily essential needs.
FairPrice employs an ongoing strategy of source diversification, working with suppliers from multiple countries, to ensure that the community has a stable supply of daily essentials at affordable prices.
In addition, it practises stockpiling to ensure undisrupted supplies in the event of crisis, and this provides a buffer for alternative supply sources if needed.
And as a precautionary measure, FairPrice has set purchase limits for paper products (four units a customer), instant noodles/pasta (two units a customer), rice (two bags a customer), vegetables ($30 a customer), fresh poultry ($30 a customer) and eggs (three packs of 10s or one tray of 30s a customer).
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: DAVID SUN