Impact of Malaysia Lockdown in Singapore : Possible scenarios




The lockdown of Malaysia will happen on March 18-31



Due to COVID-19, Malaysia will be imposing travel restrictions form March 18-31. Malaysians will not be allowed to leave the country during this period while visitors and foreigners will be barred from entry. This measure will have an significant impact on Singapore due to the trade and manpower resources from Singapore.


Food Supply


Singapore imports more than 90 % of the food it consumes.  According to Ari-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) 2019 corporate report, only a small amount is produced locally -13 % vegetables, 9 % fish and 24 % eggs.

However, as from 2017, Singapore imports food from 170 countries (according to a news report in Today). Malaysia and Brazil are the top sources.

For Malaysia, the statistics (as from 2017) are as follows
  • Chicken - 35%
  • Fish -17%
  • Eggs- 76%

Brazil accounts for almost half of Singapore's imported chicken, 30% pork and 53 % beef. Vietnam, India and Thailand are major suppliers of rice.

Looking at the stats, the impact would be on Eggs and Chicken. This would probably apply to fresh chicken and eggs. While it is a concern, there are other alternatives like frozen Chicken that can last you more than a year. A fresh carton of  24 eggs have a shelf life of 1 month and most households use only a carton for 3-4 weeks.

Other than that, food supply lines remain robust.

Manpower


According to publications, it is estimated that 330,000 Malaysians commute daily from Johor to Singapore to work. Here are some sectors that may be impacted

F& B Service Staff
Restaurant, cafe, food stall or hawker stall might find a shortage of manpower in the next 2 weeks due to the lockdown.

Delivery riders
Although Malaysians cannot work for GrabFood or Panda Delivery without a valid work pass, they are able to work with private companies with a work pass. Some companies might face a manpower crunch in the next 2 weeks, so do expect delays in delivery.

Retail Staff
This is another sector that employs Malaysia. Expect labour shortage in this sector. However, given the anticipated slowdown in retail, this might not be a big impact.

Hospitality staff
Malaysians are one of the sources of hospitality staff. Expect a shortage of staff in this sector for the next 2 weeks

Renovation / Repairs
Doing a house renovation or looking for plumbers?
There are quite a number of Malaysians in this role and the ban could put a temporary stop to your project.

Confinement Nannies
There are quite a few confinement nannies from Singapore. If you happen to book one during this period, it might be good to standby an alternative.

These are just some of the sectors that may be hit with this lockdown. There will be other companies that employ Malaysians. During this period, do expect some delays in Operations. There is also a possibility that Malaysians would be staying over in Singapore during this period and this would mitigate the shortfall in manpower.



Exports


Major exports to Singapore as per tradingeconomics.com are electrical equipment, mineral fuels and oils, optical and photo apparatus. Given that these are not essential items, a 2 weeks disruption would not have a significant impact


The 2 main situations from this Lockdown will be on the impact on Food and Manpower. A shutdown of 2 weeks should be manageable. The only worry is that the shutdown is extended should the situation worsen in Malaysia.







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