Malaysia-Singapore border to open for selected groups

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by BLOOMBERG

MALAYSIA and Singapore are expected to reopen their borders for selected groups with work-related purposes through two travel schemes — Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) — beginning Aug 10.

In a joint statement by Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singaporean counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, they said the schemes are aimed at addressing the different needs of cross-border commuters between both countries.

“We have agreed to implement the RGL and PCA schemes, of which the officials in Malaysia and Singapore are working expeditiously towards the targeted implementation on Aug 10.

“This will give the opportunity for the relevant agencies of both governments to continue their consultation and finalise the standard operating procedures of the two initiatives,” the statement read.

According to Hishammuddin and Dr Vivian, the RGL will enable cross-border travels for essential business and official purposes between both countries. The PCA will allow Malaysians and Singaporeans, who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country, to enter that country for work.

“After at least three consecutive months in their country of work, residents may return to their home country for short-term home leave, and thereafter re-enter their country of work to continue working for at least another three consecutive months,” the statement said.

Under the new travel schemes, travellers who are eligible would have to abide by the Covid-19 prevention and public health measures agreed by both countries, which include undergoing the polymerase chain reaction swab tests.

Travellers are also expected to submit a controlled itinerary to the relevant authorities of the receiving country and adhere to the itineraries during their visit.

“Recognising the keen interest of residents in Malaysia and Singapore, and to facilitate smooth cross-border flows, both governments have agreed to publish the requirements, health protocols, and application process involved for entry and exit into Malaysia and Singapore 10 days prior to the RGL and PCA implementation,” according to the statement.

Both governments have also agreed to develop other appropriate schemes to ease cross-border travels, including daily crossborder commuting proposals for work purposes.

“Malaysia and Singapore have agreed on other schemes for the cross-border movement of people, including a daily cross-border commuting proposal for work purposes for travellers from both countries, while taking into account the required health protocols and available medical resources in both countries to ensure the safety of the citizens.

“This will allow both sides to progressively restore cross-border people-to-people interaction and economic exchanges,” the ministers said.