Coronavirus Singapore

Muhyiddin, PM Lee to discuss border reopening on May 4

Hishammuddin says it is among the topics to be discussed at leaders' retreat in S'pore

A view of Johor Baru from Woodlands. The Malaysian Foreign Minister said that although the Johor government is keen to reopen the border within the next two months, Malaysia must get Singapore's approval first. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
A view of Johor Baru from Woodlands. The Malaysian Foreign Minister said that although the Johor government is keen to reopen the border within the next two months, Malaysia must get Singapore's approval first. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

KLUANG • The leaders of Malaysia and Singapore will discuss, among other things, the reopening of the border when they meet in Singapore on May 4, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

"Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be making an official visit to Singapore to meet his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on May 4," he told reporters after attending an event in Johor on Monday.

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

Although the Johor government is keen to reopen the border within the next two months, Malaysia must get Singapore's approval first, he said. 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 on 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.

Yesterday, Mr Hishammuddin 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.

The post has remained vacant after Datuk Zainol Rahim Zainuddin retired in April last year. The mission is currently being headed by its charge d'affaires.

Meanwhile, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said 80 per cent of Malaysians would have received their Covid-19 vaccinations by the end of the year.

Mr Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said that from June, vaccine supply will begin to outstrip the number of registrations for inoculation. By October, Malaysia would have enough vaccines for 80 per cent of the population, he said, to allay concerns of those waiting to be vaccinated.

Malaysia has so far vaccinated around 2 per cent of its 32 million population, mostly front-liners and lawmakers.

Taking to Twitter yesterday, Mr Khairy shared a graph by the special committee which is ensuring access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The graph summarised the delivery schedule of all the vaccines that Malaysia has obtained, the current status of vaccine registrations and the targets. "The supply will start to exceed the registrations by June. It will certainly be completed before the end of the year," tweeted Mr Khairy.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2021, with the headline 'Muhyiddin, PM Lee to discuss border reopening on May 4'. Subscribe