Malaysia-Singapore to open vaccinated travel lanes from Nov 29

Starting with air travel between Changi and KLIA, fully vaccinated travellers will be subjected to Covid-19 tests in lieu of serving quarantine or Stay-Home Notice

by AZREEN HANI / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA and Singapore will open the vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) from Nov 29, according to the Malaysian and Singaporean prime ministers (PMs).

In a joint statement yesterday, both Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Lee Hsien Loong said the decision was made on the “significant progress” on the vaccination exercise as well as Covid-19 management in the respective countries.

Under the VTLs, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel between Singapore and Malaysia, and be subjected to Covid-19 tests in lieu of serving quarantine or Stay-Home Notice.

“The VTLs are another important milestone in the longstanding Malaysia-Singapore cooperation. The VTLs will allow travel as our two countries gradually reopen our borders responsibly by balancing the need to recover our economies, while ensuring safety and health of our people from Covid-19,” Ismail Sabri said in the statement.

“I look forward to effective implementation of this travel scheme, adding to those we have already developed previously to facilitate movements of people and goods between Malaysia and Singapore,” he added.

The statement further stated that the PMs also look forward to restoring travel across the land links between both countries in the near future.

“They were happy to note the good progress in ongoing detailed discussions on a similar vaccinated travel scheme, to reopen travel across the Causeway and the Second Link, taking into account the public health situations in Johor and Singapore,” it said.

“Singapore and Malaysia enjoy deep, warm and multi-faceted relations. I am very happy that both our countries are finally able to restart cross-border travel through the VTLs. This will help revive our economies, restore our people-to-people ties and strengthen our bilateral relationship,” Lee said in the same statement.

Earlier yesterday, Lee said he had spoken to Ismail Sabri on the phone regarding the launch of the VTLs between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“Singapore and Malaysia have made good progress vaccinating our populations and managing the pandemic. So, we agreed that it is timely to progressively resume cross-border travel between both countries…,” Lee said on his Facebook post.

According to Lee, they also discussed reopening travel across the Causeway and the Second Link.

“We look forward to launching a similar VTL scheme between Singapore and Johor in the near future,” he added.

The Malaysian Reserve reported last month that many stranded Malaysian workers are hoping for the Daily Commuting Arrangement to be launched soon. There are approximately 400,000 Malaysian workers in the republic.

However, Singapore’s Multi-Ministry Taskforce on Covid-19 co-chairperson Lawrence Wong had said that travel arrangement between Johor and Singapore, in particular over the Causeway, has to be looked at differently unlike air travel as the volume of people travelling between both sides across the land link can be very large.

“We understand that there are people on both sides of the Causeway who would like to travel to visit families or even to travel for work, but the volume of people who will be travelling between both sides can be very large if you look at what it was before Covid-19,” said Wong, who is also the republic’s finance minister on Oct 6.

In a separate development, Bernama reported that Singapore High Court granted a stay of execution to a Malaysian who was to be executed tomorrow for a drug trafficking conviction.

The decision was posted on Facebook by M Ravi, the lawyer to the man on death row — Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, 33.

“The High Court has just ordered a stay of execution pending the hearing of the appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of the High Court,” Ravi said.

The constitutional challenge against his execution was heard via zoom yesterday, two days before his Nov 10 execution date. Nagaenthran was arrested in 2009 for bringing 42.7g of heroin into Singapore.

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