: The Johor state government hopes Singapore will cooperate in terms of allowing Malaysians working in the republic to return home in stages following the neighbouring country's decision to close schools and most workplaces for a month, effective Tuesday (April 7).
Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Ir Hasni Mohammad said the effort was necessary as the state government would not be able to manage tens of thousands of Malaysians returning home at the same time.
In fact, he said Indonesia had also declared a state of emergency, and this raised concerns that more Malaysians abroad would be returning home.
"Johor is a bit unique as we have two main entry points (to the country) namely the Johor Causeway and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex, as well as four international ferry terminals.
"According to the statistics, almost 45,000 of our people are still in Singapore ... I believe that when the Singapore government imposes strict measures beginning April 7, we expect many more of our workers to return home," he said in an interview with RTM radio station, Johor FM, here, today.
Hasni said the state government would be grateful if Singapore allowed only about 1,000 to 2,000 Malaysians to return home per day.
"When this is done, we would definitely be able to manage the quarantine centres, because for Malaysian workers, although they are found negative (of COVID-19) and have no symptoms, they will still be subjected to self-quarantine at home, and the positive cases will be taken directly to the quarantine centres in the state," he said.
According to Hasni, Johor currently has 14 quarantine centres as well as three hospitals treating COVID-19 cases, namely the Permai Hospital, Enche' Besar Hajjah Khalsom Hospital in Kluang, and a temporary hospital set up at the Johor Bahru Ministry of Health Malaysia Training Institute.
In another development, Hasni said the state government also planned to set up disaster relief data centres at the district-level to ensure that aid was distributed in a fair manner.
"Through these data centres at the districts, the state government will get the information required to ensure that assistance is provided to those who are really in need," he said.