Fearing shortages of food supply in Singapore, some members of the public engaged in yet another round of panic buying on Monday night (March 16), after Malaysia announced that it will be restricting travels in and out of the country.
Following Malaysias announcement to lockdown, Singaporeans cleared supermarket shelves just hours later. | Image source: theAsianparent
The scene was a re-enactment of similar behaviour exhibited when Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level to Orange from Yellow, on Feb 7.
In a Facebook post that went out shortly after a lockdown was announced in Malaysia, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing advised Singaporeans against such behaviour, reminding the public to be mindful of what they buy, and not stockpile items in excess.
“I urge everyone to continue to purchase in a responsible manner and to purchase only what you need. Otherwise, no amount of stockpiling will be sufficient,” the Minister stated.
Singaporeans were also assured that the country will not face “any immediate risks of running out of food or other supplies brought in by our retailers.”
The Minister further elaborated that the “Government has been actively working with essential firms such as NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong and Dairy Farm International to increase our stock of food and essential supplies over the last two months.”
Food supply in Singapore adequate for its population, Chan
Speaking to the media today (March 17), Chan further elaborated that currently, Singapore has more than three months’ worth of carbohydrates like rice and noodles, and more than two months’ worth of a combination of fresh, frozen and canned stockpiles for proteins and vegetables “for normal consumption.”
“For noodles, we also have domestic production capabilities, which we can ramp up as necessary. For eggs, we have local production, and we have activated other air freight options to bring in substitute supplies, should the Malaysian supplies be disrupted,” he further added. The Government presently goes as far as Ukraine to secure their supply of eggs.
In addition to the country’ months’ worth of stockpiles at a national level, the Government has further plans in place to manage disruption in usual supply lines from Malaysia. The contingency plans include stockpiling, local production and diversification of overseas sources, and will cover many years worth of supply disruption from our neighbouring country should there be any.
The Minister also stressed that travel restrictions between countries do not automatically mean that there will be disruptions in the chain of food supply in Singapore.
“Let me first say that a disruption of supplies from Malaysia is one of the contingency scenarios that we have planned for over the many years,” he reiterated, adding that while we may have to make some adjustments, there are sufficient supplies for all Singaporeans, “so long as we buy responsibly”.
He further urged the country to remain calm and to offer reassurance for those who need it.
“I can understand the fear and anxiety of some Singaporeans,” Chan noted.
“Singaporeans who remain calm can help us reach out and reassure those who are anxious so that we can go through this together as one united people.”
Food supplies in Singapore not to be affected by Malaysia lockdown
Image source: Facebook
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post today (March 17), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong assured Singaporeans that there is no need to worry as the government has “prepared for such an eventuality, and have plans in place to cope.”
Prime Minister Lee stated that he had been in discussion with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who assured Singapore that the flow of food supplies and cargo would continue despite the newly imposed travel restrictions.