KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed his hope that procedures for allowing workers to resume commuting daily between Malaysia and Singapore can be finalised soon.
This was among some of the issues discussed during a courtesy call by Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia, Mr Vanu Gopala Menon, on Tan Sri Muhyiddin at his office in Putrajaya on Thursday (Sept 3).
"I hope Malaysia and Singapore would quickly finalise the standard operating procedures relating to the proposal to allow the daily commuting of workers between both countries, in line with efforts to boost the national economy and help the workers who have been affected," said Mr Muhyiddin in a Facebook post on Thursday.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 300,000 travellers used the Causeway every day. Among them were about 100,000 Malaysians who commuted daily between Singapore and Malaysia.
Mr Muhyiddin said they had also talked about the implementation of the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) at the Singapore-Malaysia border, which started on Aug 17.
He said both agreed that the implementation of the two arrangements has been smooth and effective.
"We also stated our commitment in ensuring that the movement of the people and border control continue smoothly without neglecting the safety aspect of the two countries."
The RGL facilitates short-term travel for essential business or official purposes between both sides for up to 14 days.
The PCA allows Singapore and Malaysia residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to enter that country for work.
The arrangements allow employers to travel for essential meetings and give workers opportunities to see their families more often.
"We are confident that the measures would help Malaysia and Singapore to gradually restore their economies and the interaction of the people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic," said Mr Muhyiddin.
He described bilateral ties as "growing positively" even though both countries are going through a challenging period.
"We believe that Malaysia and Singapore have the experience, capability and expertise to overcome the long term threat of the pandemic," he said.
He added that both countries should cooperate in the research and development of a Covid-19 vaccine, and in the fields of epidemiology, antivirals and public healthcare, which would ultimately benefit both countries.
On the high-speed rail (HSR) project, which has been deferred until the end of the year, he expressed hope that a meeting at the ministerial level would be held by the two countries soon to discuss its direction.
For the annual leaders' retreat session, which was scheduled to be hosted by Singapore this year, he said officers of the two countries would discuss and propose a suitable approach to holding the session or come up with an alternative.