S'pore PRs from Malaysia can apply to return for leave under expanded scheme

The Periodic Commuting Arrangement scheme will let them return to Malaysia for a short time after working in Singapore for at least 90 days.
The Periodic Commuting Arrangement scheme will let them return to Malaysia for a short time after working in Singapore for at least 90 days.PHOTO: ST FILE

Malaysians who are Singapore permanent residents working here will be able to return home for short-term leave before coming back to Singapore for work.

From Monday, they can apply for the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme, which will let them return to Malaysia for a short time after working in Singapore for at least 90 days.

Previously, workers had to be sponsored by their employers to qualify for the PCA scheme.

Under the PCA, approved travellers must have stayed in their country of employment for at least 90 days before returning to their home country for short-term home leave.

The change, announced by the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore on Facebook yesterday, comes ahead of Chinese New Year festivities, when many Malaysians working here usually head home to celebrate with their families.

When they return to Singapore, they will serve a 14-day stay-home notice at a dedicated facility before taking a Covid-19 test.

It is not clear if the daily quota of 2,000 travellers under the PCA will remain the same.

Those who join the scheme have to pay for the accommodation under the stay-home notice, the swab test and medical treatment, if required.

Only overland travel is allowed under the scheme via the Causeway at Woodlands and the Tuas Second Link.

The PCA is a travel lane between Singapore and Malaysia that started on Aug 10.

It is one of two special bilateral travel arrangements, with the other being the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), which allows for short-term travel of up to 14 days.

The RGL applies only to essen-tial business or official travellers, and requires a much stricter, controlled itinerary.

For instance, these travellers cannot use public transport except for private-hire cars and taxis, unlike those under the PCA.

The announcement is a slight relaxation of travel rules between Singapore and Malaysia, which shut its borders last March.

Before the pandemic, more than 300,000 travellers used the Causeway every day. Among these were about 100,000 Malaysians who commuted daily between Singapore and Malaysia.

The coronavirus situation in Malaysia has shown signs of worsening lately, with the authorities reporting 3,027 new coronavirus cases - a daily high - on Thursday.

Its health officials have warned that Covid-19 cases there could hit 8,000 a day by the middle of March if current infection rates are not brought under control.

Last November, Singapore required all travellers with recent travel history to Malaysia to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities upon arrival here, up from the previous requirement of a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2021, with the headline 'S'pore PRs from Malaysia can apply to return for leave under expanded scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe