If you have a friend who’s been complaining about not being able to party or travel due to the Covid-19 outbreak, please put on an expression of disappointment, say tsk tsk, and show him this photo.
These are Malaysian workers who were forced to sleep outside Kranji MRT station after Malaysia announced a nationwide lockdown 18 March until the end of the month.
Some of them had to use their bags, jackets, and caps as makeshift pillows.
You see, there are over 300,000 Malaysians who commute from JB to Singapore daily to work, and in order to keep working during the lockdown, they had to find a place to stay in Singapore.
This was no easy task.
Fortunately, for these workers, however, the government stepped forward.
Helped to house workers
Government bodies in Singapore like the Ministry of National Development, the Singapore Tourism Board, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Housing and Development Board helped to facilitate accommodation for these workers since the start of the lockdown.
According to Mothership, the Singapore government has helped around 2,000 firms to house 10,000 workers.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development also helped to find shelter for Malaysian workers who were sleeping rough following the announcement of the initial lockdown.
More sustainable housing
It’s not as bad as it sounds though. It’s not like Singapore was like bruh, I’m tired of your sh*t, handle it on your own.
Instead, MOM said it will work with employers to help them find more sustainable housing options.
“For their own long-term sustainability and business continuity reasons, employers will need to decide on how best to house their affected workers in Singapore, and the sharing of additional costs with their workers.”
Why? Well, as MOM says the “uncertainty over border controls” means that Malaysian workers might be here for a long time. So it makes sense that we should find more sustainable accommodation for them, just in case the lockdown continues for a much longer time than anticipated.
But how long could the lockdown really last? Well, it’s hard to say.
Infections continue to rise
You see, a nationwide lockdown might seem drastic, but the authorities simply have no choice, given the surge in Covid-19 cases.
— nzxell (@nzxell) March 25, 2020
On 18 March, the first day of the lockdown, Malaysia had a total of 790 coronavirus cases. But there have been 1000 new infections since then, bringing the total to 1796.
20 people have died from the disease so far.
But it’s not just in Malaysia; global infections are skyrocketing and there seems to be no end in sight, with the number of coronavirus cases steadily climbing towards half a million.
These are tough times for everyone, not just these poor Malaysian workers, but businesses and employees all over the world.
The only thing we can do right now is to follow the advice of the authorities and wait until this pandemic dies down.
In the meantime, you can finally binge-watch shows on Netflix without feeling guilty; for the first time in our lives, being a couch potato is better for our health than going outside and mingling.