Singapore and Malaysia can prosper and emerge stronger from pandemic by working together: Masagos Zulkifli

Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli (left) with Malaysia's Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: MASAGOS ZULKIFLI/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Close cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia will see both countries prosper and emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli on Saturday (Feb 5).

In a Facebook post after a three-day working visit to Kuala Lumpur, he noted two recurring themes from engagements with his Malaysian counterparts.

"First, we recognised and affirmed that Singapore and Malaysia are close neighbours with deep and treasured ties in many ways for as long as anyone can remember," he said.

"Second, that by working closely together, we can all prosper and emerge stronger together from the pandemic.

"With the VTL resumption, I am confident that this will pave the way forward."

Mr Masagos was referring to the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) arrangement between Singapore and Malaysia.

About 100,000 people have entered Singapore from Malaysia under the quarantine-free travel scheme that started on Nov 29.

Of these, about 55,000 people have entered via the Causeway under the land VTL, and some 44,000 people have entered via the VTL for air travellers from Malaysia.

Mr Masagos, who is Singapore's Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs, said he also met Malaysia's Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin.

"We have known each other for many years when we were both in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and updated each other on developments in both our countries," said Mr Masagos.

In a meeting with Malaysia's Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Idris Ahmad, Mr Masagos described the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Mendaki and People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council as engines driving Singapore's Muslim community towards success.

"I am happy to share that Minister Idris and myself have agreed to advance new working cooperation in several key areas that value-add and support the socio-religious life of Muslims in both countries," he added.

Mr Masagos arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

In a meeting with Minister of Rural Development Mahdzir Khalid, he noted that despite Singapore and Malaysia facing different challenges, both countries have the same vision to enable families in need.

"This must revolve around creating a society of opportunities," he said.

During his trip, Mr Masagos was hosted to a dinner by Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

"We had discussed issues previously, though virtually, and it's good to meet face to face. We had a very good discussion on various issues," said Mr Masagos.

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