Coronavirus: No go for weekend getaways in Malaysia any time soon for Singaporeans

Travel requirements between Singapore and Malaysia will stay stringent, so short trips to popular Malaysian destinations like Melaka (above) are unlikely in the near future. ST FILE PHOTO
Travel requirements between Singapore and Malaysia will stay stringent, so short trips to popular Malaysian destinations like Melaka (above) are unlikely in the near future. ST FILE PHOTO

Singaporeans are unlikely to be able to go on weekend holidays in Malaysia any time soon as travel requirements between both countries will remain stringent, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Speaking at a virtual media conference yesterday, he added that the new cross-border travel arrangements put in place are meant for workers in essential services who need to travel to and fro between the two countries.

"For those who are thinking about holidays, unfortunately I think we have to put off the idea for quite some time yet," he said.

Earlier this month, Singapore and Malaysia agreed to restart travel through two schemes: the reciprocal green lane and the periodic commuting arrangement.

The former is meant for those on essential or official business, while the latter allows Singapore residents and Malaysia residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to enter that country for work.

After at least three consecutive months in their country of work, they may return to their home country for short-term home leave.

More details will be announced before these new travel schemes take effect on Aug 10. Eligible travellers for the green lane will have to get swabbed for Covid-19 and submit their itineraries to the relevant authorities.

Yesterday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said discussions on travel arrangements with Malaysia are on track.

But arrangements for commuters who travel back and forth between both countries on a daily basis are still being discussed, he added.

 

"We do not want to see that large volume of daily commuters, as was the case before Covid-19... Neither Malaysia nor Singapore will be able to accommodate that large volume of travel on a daily basis in a safe and sustainable manner in a Covid-19 environment," he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2020, with the headline 'No go for weekend getaways in Malaysia any time soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe