25 Mar 2020
Ref No.: 250320 (1)
Dear Valued ASPRI Members,
Overcoming COVID-19 Together: Malaysia’s Movement Control Order • Support for Businesses • Updated Advisories
With the recent increase in imported cases of COVID-19, the government is tightening measures to minimise the further spread of COVID-19, and reduce the risk of seeding new local clusters. These include stricter safe distancing measures to reduce the risk of further local transmission.
Please find below updates on Malaysia’s Movement Control Order, Support for Businesses and Government Advisories.
ASPRI urges all members to do your part to adhere to the latest guidelines and encourage socially responsible behaviour.
1/3: MALAYSIA’S MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER
Malaysia will extend the movement control order (MCO) by two weeks until Apr 14 to contain the further spread of COVID-19.
2/3: SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES
Members can look forward receiving a ministerial statement on Thursday (Mar 26) regarding the Government’s additional support measures for workers, businesses and households in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, there are 2 support in place that are relevant to ASPRI members:
1. Three-Month Extension Of Levy Payment Timeline For SMEs
Currently, the foreign worker levy incurred in any month is due for payment by the 14th of the following month. Employers who fail to make payment on the due date will have their new and renewal work pass applications rejected. Two consecutive months of late or non-payment of levies will result in all existing work passes being revoked.
With immediate effect, MOM will provide SMEs with an additional three months to make the levy payment. In total, SMEs will have up to 5 months to pay for the foreign worker levy from the month it is incurred before revocation action kicks in. This temporary relief measure will apply to levies incurred in the year 2020. Around 60,000 firms stand to benefit from this measure.
Employers who use the extended payment timeline offered by MOM are encouraged to retain existing workers and should not be employing new foreign workers. MOM will hence allow renewals but not new applications of work passes from these firms.
The late payment penalty of 2% monthly will still apply for levies which are deferred. Firms are hence encouraged to exercise financial prudence and plan their cash flow to pay levies on time as far as possible. Please see Annex for further details on levy payment deferment.
2. Levy Waiver For Up To 90 Days For Foreign Workers On Overseas Leave
Currently, MOM allows levy waiver for up to 60 days for foreign workers who go on overseas home leave for at least 7 consecutive days.
In view of the widespread travel restrictions and difficulties workers may face in returning to Singapore, MOM will extend the levy waiver period to up to 90 days with immediate effect for foreign workers who are currently on overseas leave. This extended period of levy waiver will also apply to employers who send their foreign workers home from now till end 2020. Employers arranging for their workers to leave Singapore and seeking a return subsequently will be subject to the prevailing conditions then.
3/3: UPDATED ADVISORIES
1. Updated Travel Advisory And Travel Restrictions
From 27 March 2020, 0900 hours, all travellers arriving in Singapore, including residents (Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents) and Long-Term Pass holders (Student’s Pass, Dependant’s Pass, Work Pass and Long-Term Visit Pass Holders), must submit a health declaration before proceeding with immigration clearance.
They can do so up to three days prior to arrival in Singapore, and must re-submit their health declaration if there are changes to their health condition or travel history before arriving in Singapore. More details can be found here.
Any Singapore resident or long-term pass holder who leaves Singapore from 27 March (Friday), in disregard of the prevailing travel advisories, will be charged unsubsidised rates for their inpatient stay at public hospitals if they are admitted for suspected Covid-19 and have onset of symptoms within 14 days of returning to Singapore. MOH adds that Singapore residents will also not be able to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans for these treatments at public and private hospitals.
Any work pass holder or his/her dependent who leaves Singapore from 27 March 2020 will be deprioritised for entry approval and could see significant delays before they are allowed to return to Singapore if they persist in travelling abroad and return infected.
2. Stricter Safe Distancing Measures
With effect from 26 March 2020, 2359 hours, the Government will be enforcing stricter measures to limit gatherings outside of work and school to 10 persons or fewer and ensure that physical distancing of at least one metre can be achieved in most settings where interactions are non-transient. These measures are expected to be in place until 30 April 2020 but may be extended if the situation does not improve.
All events and mass gatherings (e.g. conferences, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, sporting events, trade fairs) must be deferred or cancelled, regardless of size.
Please advise your employees to avoid holding and participating in social events and gatherings involving more than 10 persons at any one time. More details can be found here.
Existing measures for workplaces continue to apply. Employers should put in place measures to reduce close physical interactions amongst employees. Tele-conferencing should be used in place of physical meetings wherever possible. Where employees can perform their work by telecommuting from home, employers must ensure that they do so.