PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is in discussions with Singapore over allowing about 300,000 citizens to continue working on the island while the movement control order is in force, said Senior Minister (Health Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Thursday (Mar 19).
Malaysia is proposing the idea on the condition that Singapore provides accommodation for the affected workers, he said at a press conference.
“We (both countries) have been in contact and discussing this ... The prime minister has also spoken with Singapore's prime minister, and I have talked to Singapore's defence minister and other senior ministers," said Mr Ismail Sabri, who is also defence minister.
"So this matter is in discussion ... God willing I will make an announcement soon about our workers who are working in Singapore," he added.
A restricted movement order has been in place since Wednesday to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Malaysians are barred from travelling overseas for two weeks, while visitors are not allowed to enter the country. Schools and non-essential businesses will also be closed.
Mr Ismail Sabri said military troops may be mobilised if Malaysians do not comply with the movement control order. But he also said the government remained confident the police would be capable of enforcing the order.
Malaysia remains the hardest hit country in Southeast Asia, with the COVID-19 tally standing at 900 as of Thursday.
About two-thirds of the cases have been traced to a religious event at a mosque in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, which was attended by 16,000 people.
Two deaths were reported on Tuesday, including a man who was present at this mass gathering.