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Duration | 1:50

Organisation | Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore)

Tzu Chi renders urgent help to foreign workers stranded in Singapore

As COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Malaysia and Singapore, both countries have consecutively stepped up their preventive measures with the aim to flatten the curve. As a result, many Malaysian workers in Singapore who travel daily between Singapore and Johor were left to sleep on the street. These workers are forced to remain in Singapore for the sake of keeping their jobs to earn a living. 3 weeks after the implementation of the movement restriction order in Malaysia, Singapore government launches a circuit breaker measure to temporarily shut down the workplaces for all non-essential services beginning 7 April 2020. The issue of managing the stranded Malaysian workers became a major problem for both Singapore and Malaysia amid a tough battle against COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, a restriction movement order kicked in on 18 March in Malaysia, leaving many Malaysian workers who travel daily across the causeway homeless and stranded.

Spontaneous volunteer, Ng Siow Lee: If you keep observing, you will notice that some of them spend their nights at the factory, some may be sleeping in the office,and you will see those in a worse situation, who are sleeping on a piece of cardboard. So, I am trying my best to find out what are the things they really need.

Malaysian foreign worker, Mohd Zulkifli :
I entered Singapore on 17 March. I do renovation work.

Reporter:It Is this the first time you are sleeping outside?

Mohd:Yes.

Reporter:First time?

Mohd:This is the first time.

Reporter:Is it because of COVID-19?

Mohd:Yes.

After assessing the situation, Tzu Chi Singapore immediately provided emergency relief to the workers. Together with a few spontaneous volunteers, the foundation helped these Malaysian workers who are stranded in Singapore.

HOD of Charity Dev Dept Tzu Chi Singapore , Khoo Jyh Hao:
We came here to assess the situation at 12am last night, to check on them and find out how many of them there is and what do they need.

Social Worker of Charity Dev Dept Tzu Chi Singapore, Lee Yi Xuan :
No matter where he is from, I think no matter who he is, it is too much to bear to see him sleeping on the street this way. So, I must say that we are not helping them just because we were invited by Yuki. In fact, we should help them if we discovered them ourselves.

The Singaporean government has launched a circuit breaker measure commencing on 7 April. Whereby all non- essential workplaces must be temporarily closed for a month. The issue of settling stranded foreign workers is now a major challenge in the joint effort between Malaysia and Singapore to ward off COVID-19.

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