Singapore positive land VTL to be opened earlier

Singapore is optimistic that it will be able to launch the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Malaysia “at the end of this month close to the launch of the air VTL” which is scheduled on Nov 29.

“It is also possible that we may be able to do so on the same day,” said the republic’s co-chair of Multi-ministry Taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19, Gan Kim Yong, at a virtual press conference here today.

“But I must qualify to say that the details are still being worked out and we hope to be able to share the plans sometime next week so that there will be time for Singaporeans who want to make the travel to make the necessary arrangements,” he said.

Gan was responding to questions about, among others, the exact date of the reopening of the Johor Bahru-Singapore land border which is reportedly to take place on Nov 29 – the same day as the air VTL.

Gan, who is also the Minister for Trade and Industry, noted that the details as to how Singaporeans can book the tickets and make the arrangement to travel will be explained later – probably next week.

“We will start with a smaller number with a certain limit quota,” he added.

Gan said it will not likely go back to the pre-COVID-19 days where “you have hundreds of thousands of people travelling, both directions, every day.”

The minister stressed that the first phase of the VTL for land is likely to focus “on this group of people who have a need to meet up with their family to be reunited.”

“We are likely to start with a smaller number. The priority is really to allow families who have been separated for a long time since the start of the COVID-19.

“Some are working here, wanting to go back to reunite with their family members. Some Singaporeans are working in Malaysia (and) want to come back to Singapore to be with their family members,” he said.

Subsequently, he added: “We can think about expanding the scope to allow more people to travel.”

“I think if it is also important for us to ensure that we are able to do it in a safe way through tests and so on to make sure that this land VTL will continue to be able to allow citizens and PR from both sides and the residents on both sides to travel safely,” he said.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad had, on Nov 18, said the VTL via the Causeway and Second Link will be opened simultaneously with the VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Nov 29.

It was also reported the initial phase of the land VTL would be opened to those using public transport such as trains and buses as it will be easier to manage instead of allowing people to drive their own cars and motorcycles across the borders.— BERNAMA