Home Minister: Just 10pc of Malaysians working in Singapore have returned home

Ben Tan
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (centre) during his visit to the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar building that houses the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facility in Johor Baru, April 7, 2020. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, April 7 — A total of 1,169 Malaysians who are working in Singapore — or roughly 10 per cent — have returned home between April 1 and yesterday, following the republic’s one-month partial lockdown, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said today.

The home minister said the figure was obtained by the Malaysian Immigration Department, which is monitoring the two entry points to the country in the Johor Causeway, here and the Second Link in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah.

“Only 10 per cent of the 11,698 Malaysians who entered the country from Singapore since April 1 until yesterday were identified as Malaysian workers who returned.

“The authorities estimate that there are about 40,000 Malaysian workers who commute daily into Singapore, but do not know the exact figure that return or remain there,” said Hamzah.

He said this during a press conference at the Johor police contingent headquarters here today after earlier visiting the Sultan Iskandar building that houses the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facility before entering Singapore via the Johor Causeway.

Also present was Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.

On the issue of returning Malaysians from Singapore, Hamzah said the authorities at both the Johor Causeway and the Second Link in Tanjung Kupang have tightened the entrances at the two entry points for Malaysians who want to return home.

“The returnees need to submit a health certificate from Singapore confirming their health status.

“At the entrance of the country, they will be re-examined by Ministry of Health personnel before being ordered to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine in their respective homes,” said Hamzah, who is also the Larut MP.

Yesterday evening, hundreds of Malaysians working in Singapore were reported to have arrived at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar building’s CIQ in an attempt to enter Johor before the move.

Singapore’s lockdown today will see all schools, businesses and commercial companies close for a month in an effort to arrest the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only essential services such as food outlets will operate on a daily basis.

Yesterday, Senior Minister and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that tens of thousands of Malaysians working in Singapore and intending to return to Malaysia were not allowed to do so.

It is said that negotiations between the foreign ministers of both Malaysia and Singapore, scheduled for tomorrow, have yet to reach a consensus on what procedures to take.

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