Stranded Malaysian, Singaporeans appeal for daily commuting pass

by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic by TMR FILE

STRANDED Malaysian and Singapore citizens are hoping the government to expedite the implementation of Daily Commuting Arrangement (DCA) as the travel restriction has badly impacted them.

Recently, the Minister of Foreign Affair has proposed to Putrajaya to reopen Johor and Singapore border through Daily Commuting Arrangement (DCA), however said the proposed solution is still at the proposal stage.

A Malaysian surveyor who only wanted to be known as Syaza commented that with over 80% of each country’s population already vaccinated, there should be adequate protection and this is the right time to open the border and let the public commute daily like before.

“We should allow vaccinated, and lower risk people to move freely with continued mandatory wearing of masks indoors, while those who are unvaccinated should be ordered to stay away from crowded places and restricted from travelling,” Syaza told The Malaysian Reserve.

She added that, the other main concern to expedite DCA is because the PCR test and mandatory quarantine which pose huge burdens to workers especially Malaysian who have been stranded with fleeting source of income.

An architect Anita Seman Soh said the public just want to be able to commute daily before the pandemic era, however have no choice but paying $2,000 (RM6, 167) for two weeks, for the quarantine cost.

Additionally, another affected Malaysian working in the shipping line, Sharizal Musa highlighted that the DCA will not work if long queues at the immigration still persist. Hence, the border management need to have strategy to control the crowd and lessen the traffic.

It is difficult to predict what will be the SOP for DCA, hence he suggested the government proceed with the Weekly Commuting Arrangement (WCA) as long as both parties are low risk and fully vaccinated.

“The government perhaps should proceed with the Weekly Commuting Arrangement (WCA) once a week for everyone to help lessen the traffic and manageable for both health and traffic officers.”

“Imagine over 100,000 commuters going through immigrations at both ends daily. Maybe the WCA would work better with everyone only commuting once a week,” Shahrizal said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Helmi Burhanuddin, a chef working in Singapore said, to control the potential crowd coming in and out of both countries, Helmi opined that only traveling via public transportation should be an alternative.

This is because the bus passengers are easier to control in comparison to private transportation.

He also believes that the social distancing practices at Johor’s Royal Malaysian Customs Department must be stringent with constant monitoring and the focus should now be on.

Meanwhile, Tangam Chonayah, said residents from both sides have been waiting for a long time for the implementation of the DCA, and focus should be on essential travels, not social visits.

The DCA clearance should be given firstly to those who need to commute for work and school, and gradually be expanded to other groups.

“Hopefully, under the DCA, those who can provide valid proof of employment regardless of what work pass they hold, or study in Singapore and have a residential address in Johor Baru are allowed to travel daily,” she added.

“Most of us are mentally, physically and financially exhausted. Allowing this is also a testament that the country is taking the call to shift to an endemic state seriously,” she told TMR.

She also believes that the DCA and reopening of the border will not only bring relief to thousands of Malaysians working in Singapore, but also uplift Malaysia economically.