Malaysia's movement curbs: Johor hopes to reopen border with Singapore

Andrew Cummings
March 18, 2020

But its relationship with Malaysia is uniquely interdependent: About 300,000 people living in Malaysia commute across the border every day, while Singapore relies on water and food imports from the country next door.

Housing options are also being made available to those who will have to stay in Singapore for these two weeks, of which three options have been put up for consideration.

"I was happy to hear his reassurance that the flow of goods and cargo between Singapore and Malaysia, including food supplies, would continue", Lee said in a Facebook post.

On Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the implementation of the 14-day MCO under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.

Malaysia's coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday has forced its neighbor, Singapore, to launch urgent measures to mitigate the impact. As of Tuesday, the country had reported 673 infections, with two deaths, while Singapore had managed to limit its cases total to 266.

Chan said that a disruption of supplies from Malaysia is "a contingency scenario we have planned for many years".

Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking, said the blocking of Malaysian workers would hurt Singapore's economy.

"This is another added layer of drag to the economy just because of the supply shock".

Some businesses in Singapore were drawing up plans to keep Malaysian staff in the city-state for the duration of the border closure. But thankfully, according to CNA and The Online Citizen, Singapore has readily stepped in to ensure that the welfare of those workers and companies affected by Malaysia's lockdown isn't compromised. "If they need their workers to stay in Singapore, the way to help them is to find suitable accommodation", said Mrs Teo at a press conference.

According to statistics, some 400,000 Malaysians make a living in Singapore with nearly 200,000 commuting from Johor Baru to the city-state daily by motorcycle, the majority of whom journey to the republic via the causeway.

Malaysian Lin Chee Ming, who works at a Singapore coffee shop, brought extra clothes and bedding when he arrived in Singapore, aiming to stay with his girlfriend.

He said, however, people should buy only what they needed.

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