Multi-agency effort helps 2,000 employers find housing for Malaysian workers, but some still stranded

PHOTO: Facebook/Grace Fu

SINGAPORE - A multi-agency effort headed by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) helped around 2,000 employers properly house most of their Malaysian workers over the last three days, but a few had to spend the night at a re-purposed sports hall.

On Thursday (March 19), Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu posted on Facebook that the workers were provided with basic necessities like toilet paper and a towel, as well as a sleeping bag.

The same day, a senior MOM official told reporters only a "small number" had to be housed at the facility in Jurong East Sports Hall.

In comparison, 10,000 were mostly put up in hotels.

Mr Lin Shilie, deputy director of planning and development branch within MOM's foreign manpower management division, said the sports hall was a stop-gap measure and that his ministry had reached out to employers to arrange for proper lodging, such as hotels or dormitories.

Team from MSF. This is half of the team. They are on 12-hour shifts.

Posted by Grace Fu on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ms Fu's post followed reports that Malaysian workers had been left stranded and were sleeping at Kranji MRT station after their home country's lockdown measures kicked in on Wednesday.

She praised a team of Ministry of Social and Family Development officers who in two days, helped to organise the sports hall for housing Malaysian workers.

"(The workers) could shower and wash up before leaving for work this morning (Thursday)," she said, adding that those who know of workers unable to find accommodation should contact MOM.

Mr Lin said that MOM, together with agencies such as the Singapore Tourism Board, National Development Ministry, the Trade and Industry Ministry and the Housing Board worked overnight after the lockdown was announced.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.