The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Group says prolonged M’siaS’pore border closure straining family ties


JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian government needs to put in more effort to reopen the border with Singapore as the 13-month-long closure is causing a lot of strain on families.

Malaysia-Singapore Workers Task Force president Dayalan Sreebalan said there was an increase in the number of cases related to depression and family crises, besides the agony of not seeing their loved ones since March 18 last year.

“I'm getting calls about spouses needing legal aid after a husband or wife is found to be having an affair. This has broken up many families.

“There was also a case of a woman who committed suicide here recently because of a similar incident,” he said in an interview.

Dayalan added that many Malaysians working in Singapore were also unable to keep up with the increasing cost of living such as room rental, which has increased from $200 to $800 per month.

“So if a worker earns $1,500 per month in Singapore, after deducting his room rental and living expenses, he hardly has anything left to send back home,” he said, adding that many of the workers chose to remain in Singapore in the hope that the border would reopen soon.

Dayalan said it was time for the government to be honest about whether the border would reopen only in 2022 because this would allow many Malaysians to decide to quit and return home, instead of suffering alone abroad.

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