KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore is stepping up efforts to help displaced Malaysian workers caught in a bind in the republic.
Singapore’s High Commissioner here, Vanu Gopala Menon, said the Manpower Ministry and Employment and Employability Institute were coordinating the redeployment of workers, said to number in the thousands.
He said economic and manpower agencies were also roped in to help the Malaysians whose employers’ businesses were badly hit by the Covid-19 situation.
“For the Malaysian workers affected by some of these layoffs, our agencies have been working to match them with jobs. This is part of a labour redeployment exercise across the various sectors.
“For many of the Malaysians wanting to return, Singapore employers have offered no-pay leave where possible and have not cancelled their work permits, so they would be able to work in Singapore in the future, ” he said.
Menon said one of the openings could be in factories assembling Covid-19 test kits which were in need of workers, adding that recently, a firm launched a rapid test kit and entered into a manufacturing agreement.
He said Malaysian companies producing the test kit parts had been allowed to operate during the movement control order (MCO) as they were deemed an essential service.The parts made by these companies are sent to Singapore where the final product is assembled and exported to Malaysia and other countries.
Menon said co-operation between Singapore and Malaysia on the Covid-19 front was progressing well, with Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean conferring with his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“I wish to thank the Malaysian authorities, which includes MITI (International Trade and Industry Ministry), Wisma Putra, Health Ministry, the Immigration and Customs for their co-operation.
“We greatly appreciate it, ” said the envoy, who handed over 5,000 Universal Transport Medium (UTM) test kits for Covid-19 to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba on Wednesday.
Malaysia’s movement control order, enforced on March 18, left the workers and their Singapore employers scrambling to make accommodation arrangements as the Causeway was closed to them.
The workers are mainly those who commute to work between Johor and Singapore.