Malaysia’s movement control order caused a record number of its workers, who are normally resident there, to cross over to Singapore on Tuesday night. It is reassuring that the vast majority of those who did were assisted with accommodation promptly by employers through a variety of means, such as staying with relatives, friends or colleagues, or being housed in hotels, dormitories, rooms or whole properties in both HDB flats and the private residential property market.
The authorities provided employers with housing support in the form of $50 a day for every worker. There are also reports of well-meaning individuals and groups who went out to help some individuals found spending the night in MRT stations. What all this has reflected is a recognition of the necessity to protect the well-being of workers who contribute substantially and consistently to Singapore’s economic vitality. To abandon these workers to the vagaries of market conditions, affected and altered by the Covid-19 outbreak, would have amounted to an abrogation of moral duty to assist those in need.