Malaysian PM Ismail to visit Singapore on Monday, witness launch of land VTL

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will also call on Singapore President Halimah Yacob at the Istana, and have a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. PHOTO: EPA-EFE/MALAYSIA PRIME MINISTER OFFICE

SINGAPORE - Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will be making his first official visit to Singapore as premier on Monday (Nov 29), said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Sunday.

As part of his visit, Mr Ismail will witness the launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) across the Causeway between Singapore and Malaysia together with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The much-anticipated land VTL will allow up to 1,440 citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders quarantine-free entry into each country on designated buses daily, starting from Monday.

Mr Ismail - who took office in August this year - will also call on President Halimah Yacob at the Istana, and have a meeting with PM Lee.

PM Lee will host Mr Ismail for an official lunch. The Malaysian leader will also have a new orchid hybrid named in his honour during a ceremony at the Istana.

Mr Ismail will be accompanied by other Malaysian leaders on his visit, said MFA.

These include Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali; Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah; Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong; Menteri Besar of Johor Hasni Mohammad; and senior officials.

The last official visit by a sitting Malaysian prime minister was in November 2018, when then PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was in Singapore to attend the 33rd Asean Summit.

In a statement last Wednesday, the Prime Minister's Office of Singapore said that Singapore and Malaysia have a long-standing, broad and multifaceted relationship.

Bilateral trade, investment and tourism ties are robust, and people from both sides share a close affiliation with each other, even as Covid-19 has disrupted the people-to-people connection and separated families in the two countries for many months, the PMO added.

The two prime ministers had spoken on the phone on Nov 8, before they announced the launch of VTL flights between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which is also set to resume on Monday.

Before the pandemic, the KL-Singapore route was the busiest international air route in the world, with around 40 flights and an average of 7,000 arrivals each day at Changi Airport.

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