Malaysian Workers Association in Singapore (Pemas) president S. Dayalan has claimed that Singapore is not committed to reopen borders with Malaysia because Singapore is benefitting economically.
Dayalan said that Singapore is benefitting from the extra expenditure of Malaysian workers who are currently working and living in Singapore.
About 215,000 Malaysians in Singapore
According to Utusan Malaysia, Dayalan said that about 215,000 Malaysian workers are currently living in Singapore, thus benefitting the island republic.
About RM14 billion (S$4.5 billion) should have been spent in Malaysia, added Dayalan, but the money was used in Singapore instead.
"Because they (Malaysian workers) can’t return to Johor, they have to spend in Singapore to support themselves.
The money could have been spent here if they could travel home and help to revive our economy."
Dayalan said, as reported by Utusan Malaysia, that the reopening of the borders would not only benefit the Malaysians working in Singapore, it will benefit Malaysia's economy as well.
Urged Malaysian government to push for border reopening
Dayalan then urged the Malaysian government, particularly the Johor administration, to push for the reopening of the borders, according to The Star.
"We have heard of discussions being held between the two countries, but until now, there are still no signs of a strong commitment from the Federal Government to reopen the border.
We urge the government to push more vigorously for the reopening of the border, especially its two land borders here."
According to Dayalan, the Malaysian government must be pro-active as there "may not be much urgency" from Singapore.
Possibility of borders reopening
The Malaysia-Singapore border has been closed since March 18, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Thursday (Sep. 23), Malaysia's foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that the two countries are discussing the possibility of reopening the borders soon.
Saifuddin added that Malaysia's health minister Khairy Jamaluddin had spoken with Singapore's health minister Ong Ye Kung over the phone about how borders between both countries can be reopened.
"I pray and hope that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible," said Saifuddin.
Khairy: Need for circuit-breaker measures like S'pore to avoid national lockdown
The total number of cases in Malaysia is now more than two million.
Khairy spoke recently of the need for circuit-breaker measures if a certain locale in Malaysia records unusually high transmission of Covid-19 infections.
He added that Malaysia must mirror Singapore’s circuit-breaker measures to avoid another national lockdown.
Malaysia reported 13,899 new Covid-19 cases on Sep. 25.
Sehingga 25 September 2021: Jumlah kes COVID-19 yang dilaporkan adalah 13,899 kes (2,185,131 kes)— Noor Hisham Abdullah (@DGHisham) September 25, 2021
Pecahan setiap negeri (Kumulatif):
Selangor - 2,341 (670,592)
Sarawak - 2,712 (196,146)
Sabah - 962 (193,186)
Johor - 1,377 (189,315)
WPKL - 310 (184,832)
Kedah - 708 (130,950)
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Top image by Andrew Koay.