Why Singapore may be reluctant to reopen its border with Johor, according to Malaysian workers’ association rep

JOHOR BARU : A Malaysian workers’ representative today claimed that the Singapore government is not keen to reopen the Malaysia-Singapore border as the island republic is benefitting from an economic overflow due to the extra expenditure of Malaysian workers who are now stuck there.

Malaysian Workers Association in Singapore’s Johor chapter chairman S. Dayalan said an estimated RM14 billion, which should have been spent in Malaysia, has been used in Singapore instead, following the border closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said based on the latest statistics, there are a total of 215,000 Malaysians still working in Singapore.

“Because they can’t return to Johor Baru, they have to spend in Singapore to support themselves, and that is about SG$1,500 a month.

S. Dayalan (right) during a press conference at the Johor chapter of the Malaysian Workers Association in Singapore office in Tampoi, September 24, 2021 — Picture by Ben Tan
S. Dayalan (right) during a press conference at the Johor chapter of the Malaysian Workers Association in Singapore office in Tampoi, September 24, 2021 — Picture by Ben Tan

“Based on the calculation, within a year, it is estimated that Malaysians in Singapore have spent about SG$4.5 billion, or the equivalent of about RM14 billion,” said Dayalan during a press conference held at his office in Tampoi here today.

The Malaysia-Singapore border, which is one of the busiest in the world, has been closed since March 18, 2020.

In this regard, Dayalan said the Malaysian government, especially Johor’s administration, must demand that the border be reopened immediately.

“When the border was first closed, the world did not know how serious the Covid-19 threat was and what steps were needed to address it,” he said.

Dayalan added that after more than a year, most people are now aware of the importance of adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP), apart from the need for vaccination.

He said the reopening of the border will not only bring relief to hundreds of thousands of Malaysians working in Singapore, but also economic benefits to Malaysia.

Yesterday, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad told the state’s special committee meeting that the state government will be submitting a proposal to Putrajaya on the implementation of a border reopening scheme between Malaysia and Singapore through the Daily Commuting Arrangement (DCA).

He was reported to have said that the SOP would be submitted to assess preparations to allow Malaysian workers in Singapore to commute daily if the decision to reopen the border reached a consensus.

By : BEN TAN – MALAY MAIL

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