The Johor-Singapore causeway: a major route linking the two countries for daily commuters. Credit: Getty images
SINGAPORE - The American Chamber of Commerce Singapore (AmCham Singapore) has raised its concerns regarding Malaysia's lockdown, highlighting that efforts to contain COVID-19 should be implemented in a manner that minimises the economic impact of the movement control order which prevents people from crossing the Causeway.
AmCham member companies urgently depend on the continued flow of people and goods across the border as both countries and economies are interdependent. Mr Ravindran Alfreds, VP, External Affairs, AmCham Singapore said: "Approximately 10 members have raised concerns. However, we understand that many other companies are also affected. Both governments are aware of our statement."
AmCham Singapore chairman, Mr Dwight Hutchins, said: "The current policy will have an impact on both the economies of Malaysia and Singapore, and specifically have a dire impact on the State of Johor Darul Ta'zim.
"Each day, more than 200,000 Malaysians, mainly from Johor, make their way to work in factories and offices across Singapore. Their hard work and earnings contribute a significant part of the bilateral economic exchange between the two countries. The movement control order will also inadvertently degrade both countries' ability to effectively combat COVID-19, as stopping the flow of people will also impede the flow of healthcare workers and medical supplies between the two countries."
AmCham is calling for special exemptions to the movement control order to be made for Malaysian workers who work in Singapore, given the significant precautionary measures taken by workplaces in Singapore to run operations safely and in compliance with global measures, and the efforts of the authorities to contain the virus through active contact tracing.
He added: "These exemptions should prioritise workers that provide essential services such as healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, including healthcare and personal protective equipment, security, waste management and cleaning, and are not able to provide these services through remote options.
"We are confident that both governments will do what is best to maintain international business confidence and ensure the health and safety of the people within their borders. Our member companies also offer themselves as a partner to support recovery planning by the respective ministries."
About AmCham Singapore
Established in 1973, the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore) is the largest and the most active international business association in Singapore and Southeast Asia, with over 4,700 members representing more than 600 companies. It has 13 industry-specific committees and conducts nearly 200 events per year.