Singapore, Malaysia to discuss reopening of border during Muhyiddin's visit on May 4

Malaysia shut its international borders in March last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Malaysia shut its international borders in March last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

KLUANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The leaders of Malaysia and Singapore will discuss, among other things, the reopening of the border when they meet in Singapore on May 4, Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Monday (April 13).

He told reporters: "Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be making an official visit to Singapore to meet his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on May 4."

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said among topics to be discussed in the leaders' retreat in Singapore was the reopening of the Malaysia-Singapore border.

He said although the Johor government is keen to reopen the border within the next two months, Malaysia must get Singapore's approval first. Malaysia shut its international borders in March last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

"The discussion process is still ongoing. Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan recently visited our country and we briefly discussed the matter.

"I will make sure that this is in the agenda to be discussed between Muhyiddin and Lee," Mr Hishammuddin said.

During Dr Balakrishnan's Malaysia visit late last month, Mr Muhyiddin said the Singapore minister extended a letter from Prime Minister Lee inviting him to attend the 10th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Leaders' Retreat.

"I took note of Singapore's proposal to be the host for the retreat this year after it was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic," Mr Muhyiddin said then.

During his Malaysian visit, Dr Balakrishnan met Mr Hishammuddin and the two countries agreed to work towards recognising each other's vaccine certificates to facilitate cross-border travel.

They also agreed to progressively restore cross-border travel for other groups of travellers, in addition to the existing Reciprocal Green Lane and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement.

Mr Hishammuddin on Tuesday also said that the Covid-19 pandemic was making it difficult for Malaysia to send a representative to fill the High Commissioner's post in Singapore, which has been vacant for a year now.

He said the appointment of the Malaysian high commissioner to Singapore was still under process.

"There are still some technical issues that Wisma Putra must see to first," he said after officiating the Malaysia Prihatin Parliament Sembrong programme in Paloh on Monday.

"I am not denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for us to place representatives of our embassies in several countries," he added.

The Malaysian high commissioner post to Singapore has been vacant after Datuk Zainol Rahim Zainuddin retired in April last year.

The Malaysian High Commission in Singapore is currently being headed by a charge d'affaires.