JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The fate of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) for air and land between Malaysia and Singapore will be decided at least 48 hours before Jan 20 next year when the temporary suspension of the scheme is expected to end.
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the decision on whether the temporary suspension would continue or the VTL-Air and VTL-Land will continue operating depended on the current situation then.
"It is still too early to tell as there is another three weeks or so until then.
"What we know is that the quota will be reduced but it all depends on the Covid-19 situation at the time such as the emergence of Omicron or other variants.
"Then we will make an evaluation on that," Datuk Seri Wee said in a press conference after chairing a two-hour meeting with the Johor Malaysian Chinese Association liaison committee on Thursday (Dec 30).
Separately, all businesses will be allowed to reopen in Sarawak and the Peninsular Malaysia state of Kelantan from Monday, as they transition to Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan.
Sabah and the other 10 Malaysian states and three federal territories have already transitioned to final stage 4 of the NRP, meaning all curbs on businesses and movements have been lifted.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, the senior minister overseeing enforcement of health protocols against Covid-19, cautioned the public not to let their guard down.
"Covid-19 is a threat to security and health, particularly with the spread of the Omicron variant.
"All quarters must be disciplined and responsible in abiding by the SOP," he said, as quoted by Bernama news agency.
Mr Wee, speaking about the VTL, said his Singaporean counterpart S. Iswaran had contacted him on Dec 21 to formally inform him of the island republic's decision to impose limits on the number of VTL arrivals temporarily.
He said Malaysia will continue to work closely with the Singapore Ministry of Transport as partners to look after the development and sustainability of transport links between the two nations.
All sales of bus and air tickets from Malaysia to Singapore under the VTL had been suspended from Dec 23 until Jan 20 following the island republic's decision to freeze cross-border travel due to the rising number of imported Covid-19 cases.
However, all travellers who already hold flight or bus tickets for VTL and have met the VTL requirements can continue to travel under the lane.