Coronavirus pandemic

Singapore ready to work with Malaysia on cross-border travel

Singapore and Malaysia are in active discussions to allow Malaysians to resume travel to Singapore for work.
Singapore and Malaysia are in active discussions to allow Malaysians to resume travel to Singapore for work.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Singapore is prepared to work with Malaysia to address the needs of cross-border travellers, including short-term business and official travellers, as well as citizens who had been commuting between both countries.

A spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Friday that such bilateral arrangements would have to include mutually agreed public health protocols to preserve the public health and safety of citizens on both sides.

The MFA was responding to Malaysia's Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who said that the country's Health Ministry has determined that Singapore and Brunei are green zone countries, and the government has agreed to allow citizens from both nations to enter Malaysia.

Datuk Seri Ismail said talks with Singapore and Brunei over the issue were ongoing. "Such bilateral arrangements would have to include mutually agreed public health protocols, to preserve the public health and safety of citizens on both sides," said the MFA spokesman. "Both countries will require some time to work out the details on the gradual easing of border restrictions to ensure a stable recovery from the Covid-19 situation."

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said last week that Singapore and Malaysia were in active discussions to allow Malaysians to resume travel to Singapore for work. He said the number of people who will be allowed to enter, the protocols that would be implemented and the industries that would get priority were being discussed with the Malaysian government.

Mr Wong told a news conference that traffic will not be allowed to return to levels seen before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We're not talking about large volumes, daily commuters coming in and out freely. We are not going back to that situation," he said. "We are talking about resumption of travel, but in a controlled and safe manner for both sides. That's in our mutual interest."

 
 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 21, 2020, with the headline 'Singapore ready to work with Malaysia on cross-border travel'. Subscribe