Malaysia-Singapore in discussion on Daily Commuting Arrangement

As the Covid-19 situation in both countries has not subsided, the 2 nations will continue to implement strict health regulations for cross-border movement

pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA and Singapore are considering the Daily Commuting Arrangement (DCA) to ease the commuting process between workers from both countries — especially Malaysians — who are stranded in the republic due to the border closure.

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah told Dewan Rakyat yesterday that DCA, however, is still in the proposal stage as many factors need to be refined before implementation.

“This matter is still at the proposal stage and many things need to be refined before it can be implemented,” the minister said during his wind-up speech.

“As I mentioned earlier, the main thing that the country emphasises for any gradual border reopening is the safety and health of the people, on top of the current Covid-19 situation for both Malaysia and Singapore,” he said.

“As the Covid-19 situation in both countries has not subsided, Malaysia and Singapore will continue to implement strict health regulations for cross-border movement,” Saifuddin explained.

Despite the vaccination rate in both countries reaching about 80%, he stressed that many factors need to be considered before opening up the borders.

On Wednesday, Malaysia reported a total of 14,990 Covid cases while Singapore reached its record high of 1,457 cases.

The high number of cases has raised concern on the republic’s reopening strategy, as it plans to move to the endemic stage.

It is reported that prior to Covid-19, up to 200,000 Malaysians commute daily to Singapore for work.

Last year, up to 15,666 Malaysian workers lost their jobs in the city-state between January and July.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said that the cross-travel scheme or Periodic Commuting Arrangement which allows employees (including Permanent Resident status) to go home on holiday to Malaysia is a testament to both countries’ cooperation on the matter.

“Under this scheme, Malaysian employees can still return to Singapore and resume their work there after the holidays,” he said.

On the issue of Chinese shipping ships’ intrusion at the South China Sea, the minister said there will be no compromise on matters relating to Malaysia’s sovereignty.

“The Malaysian government consistently submitted the Diplomatic Objection Notes to any governments whose foreign ships are found encroaching on the waters of this country.

“This action is taken in accordance with international law and Malaysia’s stand to defend its sovereignty and rights,” he said.

“This action is also in line with Malaysia’s move that has never recognised any claim of the South China Sea that involves and overlaps with national waters based on Malaysia’s new map, 1979.”

Separately, Bernama reported Saifuddin as saying that the government is ready to look in detail in terms of policies related to the citizenship issues involving Malaysian mothers.

He said the Cabinet will consult with Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun in the meeting today, on how to proceed with the matter.

On Monday, the Parliament’s Special Select Committee on Women, Children Affairs and Social Development recommended for the initial interpretation that the citizenship of a child is given solely based on the father’s citizenship, to be revoked.

The revocation, according to the committee, is in line with the government’s efforts to protect and preserve the rights of men and women, and guaranteeing the child’s right to self-identity.

“This mission will ignite again the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia that is in line with the government’s policy of ‘no one is left behind’,” it added.

Last week, the government filed a notice of appeal against the High Court’s landmark ruling that allowed children born overseas to Malaysian mothers to be entitled to citizenship by operation of law.