It’s not easy to make a living on the other side of the causeway, especially now that the MCO is in place and Malaysians working in Singapore are left to deal with high costs of living, unemployment and being separated from their families just to continuously support them financially. Out of desperation, a group of these Malaysians have resorted to making the journey back home on foot due to the limited opportunities that are left for them.
One such Malaysian is 30-year-old production assistant, Nur Hamidah Jamal, who works for Singapore’s electricity sector after the Singapore government announced that they would be closing schools and other non-essential industries to curb the spread of the virus in their country, reports Berita Harian.
“We’re worried because a month is a long time and we’re concerned we can’t keep affording the high cost of living in Singapore.”
“We really can’t afford (Singapore) anymore because the likelihood of us losing our overtime are really high now that factories are closing because they’re not included in Singapore’s list of essential services. Even though our bosses tell us that we won’t be unemployed, we have to take unpaid leave for a month. It’s such a long time and I really miss my kids and husband,” said a worried Nur Hamidah who yearns to be back with her family in Johor.
“Before this, even if I worked in Singapore, I could go back and forth to visit my family in Johor. But we’ve been separated ever since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced on 17th March and I’ve been staying in Singapore ever since.
“I can’t bear the thought of my husband and son going through Ramadan on their own,” she added.
According to the hardworking mother, she will make the journey back to Johor on foot once she settles a few work matters and gets health clearance to return to Malaysia. Nur Hamidah also said that she won’t be the only one walking back the stretch of 1.5km this evening as it is believed that other Malaysian workers will do the same.
Another store chain supervisor who goes by the name of Sofia Safie, said that she was still awaiting permission from her employers in Singapore to let her return home:
“The decision to return is still uncertain as I’ll only receive my answer from management today as to whether I can return home,” said the 35-year-old, who said returning to Johor would be ideal. “If I’m allowed to, I will walk on foot from Singapore customs to Johor because there are really no vehicles during MCO.”
It’s been a difficult season for all of us. The best thing we can do right now is stay at home and stay informed.
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