Coronavirus: Malaysia looking at fully reopening border with Singapore in January

ISKANDAR PUTERI • Malaysia's Health Ministry is looking at the possibility of fully reopening the Malaysia-Singapore border for daily commuters in January.

Health Minister Adham Baba said yesterday that the recovery movement control order period over the next four months would be an important time for the country as it would determine if it is possible to reopen the border with Singapore fully.

He said that during this time, a more systematic approach would be taken in areas such as border control, physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment.

Datuk Seri Adham said in considering whether to fully reopen the border, the ministry has to consider people's livelihood, which has been affected by Covid-19.

"We must find a balance as both the economy and health of people are very important matters," he said after attending an event that paid tribute to front liners in the form of a mural constructed from Lego bricks at the Legoland Malaysia Resort.

The mural was unveiled by Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad, Dr Adham and Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri.

Dr Adham also said the ministry is looking at doubling its capacity in swabbing travellers for Covid-19 under the current Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes.

Meanwhile, Datuk Hasni said the state government will continue to push Putrajaya to open up the border with Singapore as soon as possible.

"Johor wants the border to be fully open for daily commuters and not just with the RGL and PCA.

"Prior to the RGL and PCA, there was already movement between the two countries, with Malaysia sending cargo containing medical and food supplies," he added.

On Thursday, Mr Hasni said at the Johor assembly that the state was able to conduct more than 2,000 Covid-19 tests daily for those going to and from Singapore under the RGL and PCA.

He said that as of Aug 31, 320 individuals had travelled to and from Singapore under the RGL, with another 8,270 under the PCA.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2020, with the headline 'Malaysia looking at fully reopening border with Singapore in January'. Subscribe