Singapore seeks more time ahead of deadline to control people’s movements

Massive jams are seen on both Singapore-JB checkpoints – Woodlands and Tuas – a few hours before the land entrances are closed to travel. (File pic)

SINGAPORE: As the clock is ticking to the deadline for Malaysia’s movement control order to take effect by midnight tonight, Singapore is hoping to be given more time.

“We are in touch with the Malaysian side to see if some flexibility can be obtained beyond tonight … maybe one or two days to allow for that transition to happen,” said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

“That conversation is still ongoing,” he told a press conference by the Multi-ministry Task Force to update on the local situation of the Covid-19 infection here.

Malaysia had yesterday decided to implement a nationwide movement control order from March 18-31 to contain the Covid-19 spread.

This order encompasses, among others, a complete travel restriction on all Malaysians going overseas as well as a complete restriction of foreign visitors and tourists into Malaysia.

These have affected both work pass holders, Singapore citizens as well as permanent residents who commute daily from Malaysia.

At press time, massive jams were seen on both checkpoints – Woodlands and Tuas – a few hours before the land entrances are closed to travel.

Asked about Singapore considering locking down the republic, Wong said it could not be ruled out, although this was not a current consideration.

“We have always said that we need to consider a whole range of measures and not rule anything out.

“We could potentially consider a major circuit breaker that doesn’t entail a lockdown, but entails school closures, workplaces, on a temporary basis for two to three weeks, just like Malaysia. But it doesn’t mean a lockdown, just suspension of activities.

“That’s a whole range we have in our toolkit. We will adjust our measures.

“If we are vigilant and implement them effectively, we won’t have to lock down our city,” he said.