Workers Party MP Pritam Singh continued his cause to help private hire bus drivers, this time writing on his FB about the plight they are in, more so now that Malaysia have decided to close their borders. This means the private bus drivers would face a situation where they are unable to ferry their Malaysian passengers from Johore into their workplace in Singapore. Pritam also indicated that the bus drivers affected were mostly Singaporeans, many with a family to feed.
Pritam indicated that these private bus drivers met him at his meet-the-people session, and they told him of their difficulties in meeting the lease payment of their vehicles, and even some having their buses repossessed as they cannot afford to pay for the installments. He ended his post by indicating that he will be writing to the relevant government authorities to ask for support for this group of private bus drivers.
He wrote: "In response to my post concerning Private-Hire bus drivers, a number of them saw me at my Meet-the-People session last night. The situation has been grim for them for a few weeks and more so after the Malaysian lockdown announced yesterday. Some drivers have had their buses repossessed as they defaulted on installment payments. Almost to a man, all the affected individuals are Singaporeans, with families to feed.
The group who saw me raised some suggestions as to how the Government could support them going forward. I will be writing to the Ministry of Finance on this and will share my notes with the National Transport Workers Union and the Singapore Tourism Board.
On a separate note, I hope local finance companies and banks can also consider the circumstances of all Singaporean workers hard hit by COVID-19 and exercise compassion before calling on loans, hire-purchase agreements or at least suspend any interest / late payment charges. These are ordinary, hardworking Singaporeans and we all need to chip in to help wherever we can."