Malaysian workers caught off guard by reimposition of 14-day quarantine

  • Nov 21, 2020
  • Free Malaysia Today

SINGAPORE: Some Malaysians returning home under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) are affected by the latest announcement by the Singapore government to revert to the 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) instead of the seven days now.

Some also had to cancel their plans to return to their families even after getting permission under the scheme on realising the cost of SHN would definitely increase.

They took to social media platforms to express their feelings, including on the Malaysia-Singapore Border Crossers Facebook page, which now has almost 73,000 members.

“My husband is one of those affected,” said Hazuraini Hussin, a cleaner at a condominium in Bukit Timah here when contacted by Bernama.

Hazuraini said her husband, Nazmin Ismail, took a seven-day leave to return to Johor on Nov 17 and had permission to re-enter the republic on Nov 24 — a day after the implementation of the new measures.

The couple, whose only son will celebrate his third birthday next month, had been separated for the past eight months following strict border measures between the two countries to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My husband is trying to appeal to the employer to make a salary deduction for the SHN cost of about S$2,000 (RM6,095).

According to her, the employer had also applied to the relevant authority for her husband to return to Singapore a day before the new rules come into force, but the appeal was rejected.

Last month, Hazuraini was seen helping Nazmin, asking in the Malaysia-Singapore Border Crossers Facebook page, for an affordable hotel for her husband to undergo the seven-day SHN.

“Previously, with the help of the Facebook page’s members, we got a hotel that offered a price of S$400 for seven days.

“But now the cost has jumped almost fivefold and is equal to two months’ of my husband’s salary,” she said.

“We only hope that the employer, if they cannot share the SHN cost, will at least deduct it monthly from my husband’s salary,” said Hazuraini, who hails from Besut, Terengganu.

Singapore health ministry had on Nov 20 announced that it will be tightening border measures from Nov 23 after the resurgence of cases in Malaysia.

The ministry said all travellers entering Singapore “from Nov 22, 2020, 2359 hours” who have a travel history, including transit, in the past 14 days to Malaysia will be required to serve the 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities.

This measure will also apply to travellers entering Singapore to work under the PCA and returning Singapore-based travellers under the Singapore-Malaysia Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), it said.

Singapore had earlier announced that travellers from Malaysia are allowed to serve a seven-day SHN at their place of residence from Sept 1, except from Sabah, who are required to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities from Oct 15.