Johor urges Malaysia authorities to speed up full reopening of Singapore border

More than 35,000 Johor residents working in Singapore have lost their jobs since the pandemic started. PHOTO: ST FILE

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor wants Putrajaya to speed up the full reopening of Malaysia's border with Singapore, says Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad.

Datuk Hasni said he recently met Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss the matter, adding that Tan Sri Muhyiddin had asked Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to look into it.

"Both governments are currently finding positive ways so that we can quickly open up the border between Malaysia and Singapore," said Mr Hasni during a speech at the Johor Islamic Religious Council zakat handing over ceremony at Holiday Villa Hotel here on Monday (Sept 7).

He added that to date, more than 35,000 Johor residents working in Singapore have lost their jobs since the pandemic started.

"It has also affected more than 250,000 Malaysians who used to travel daily between the borders, as the state's economy depends on the economy of our neighbouring country.

"The border reopening is also important as it contributes 50 per cent of the Customs revenue to the country," he said, adding that he hopes the government would announce good news soon.

On July 26, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan met at the halfway mark of the Causeway in a symbolic gesture to mark the agreement by both countries to reopen their borders on Aug 17 under the Reciprocal Green Lane and Periodic Commuting Arrangement schemes.

The border was closed after Malaysia introduced the movement control order to curb the spread of Covid-19 on March 18.

The green lane will enable cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes between Malaysia and Singapore up to a maximum of 400 people a week for stays up to two weeks.

On the other hand, the commuting agreement will allow residents of both countries who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to enter that country for work, up to a maximum of 2,000 people a day.

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