Johor eatery owners waiting for reopening of land border between Malaysia and S'pore

Many of the owners felt that the VTL between Changi Airport and KL had little impact on the Johor economy. PHOTO: SYAHRIL AZRUL HAR

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor restaurant owners are looking forward to the setting up of a land-based Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between the Malaysian southern state and Singapore.

While they welcomed the VTL announcement between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), where fully vaccinated travellers would not need to be quarantined, many felt that it had little impact on the Johor economy.

Restaurateur Charmaine Tan said a land VTL would have much more impact on the economy.

"Those travelling through KLIA are not likely to make another trip to get to Johor unless they are from here. I believe most Johoreans would also prefer to travel to the state straight instead of having to go through Kuala Lumpur," she said.

Ms Tan, 35, hopes the government would set up a land VTL between Johor and Singapore as soon as possible to "rescue" businesses on the brink of going bankrupt.

"I hope they allow fully vaccinated people to travel on public transport such as buses or trains between Johor and Singapore," she added.

Another restaurant owner, Roland Lim, 68, said most businesses in Johor Baru relied on Singaporean visitors.

Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneur Association secretary Hussein Ibrahim said the air VTL would be used for tourism activities.

"It would help spur the economy in and around Kuala Lumpur. However, this opening up would not benefit Johor," he added.

If there is no traffic, the travelling time between Johor and Singapore is between 10 and 20 minutes, but it would take at least four hours to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Johor.

He said the government should consider opening up the border via the Causeway.

"If they don't allow private vehicles to travel between both countries, at least they (should) have public transport service."

The border between Malaysia and Singapore has been closed since March 18, 2020.

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