News: Arrangements for cross-border travel between Singapore, Malaysia to open from 10 August

Jul 27, 2020

Singapore and Malaysia have settled arrangements for cross-border travel between two countries for “essential business and official purposes” from 10 August. However, both countries are not ready to open for daily commuting yet. Image: facebook.com/Vivian.Balakrishnan.Sg

The government is set to open applications for cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore from 10 August.

This comes after the city-state and Malaysia settled arrangements for the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) between the two countries, reported Channel News Asia (CNA). 

“I’m … pleased to report that both sides have settled the arrangements for the Reciprocal Green Lane as well as for what we call the Periodic Commuting Arrangement, so all the details have been settled (and) applications will open on 10 August, and in the next few days we will publish the operational details,” CNA quoted Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan as saying following a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein.

The minister, however, underscored that the arrangements do not include daily commuting between Singapore and Malaysia since the two countries are “not ready for that yet”.

“I would say, give us a couple of weeks to monitor the (COVID-19) figures, both in Malaysia, in particular Johor, and in Singapore. And as we gain greater confidence that the control of the pandemic is well-executed in both places, we can then begin the discussions for how we can allow daily commuting,” explained Balakrishnan.

He noted that a few more operational details still need to be addressed before daily commuting may be allowed, such as the availability of mass-scale testing on the two sides.

Meanwhile, Balakrishnan revealed that his team was also working on permitting people to travel between the two countries on compassionate grounds like visiting a sick relative or to attend funerals.

“(In) the last few months, I received so many desperate pleas. My parent or my grandparent in hospital or in ICU, or sometimes worse, has passed away. And they want so desperately to … bid a final farewell,” he said.

“This is the other category on a much smaller scale, of course, but which I have great sympathy for and we’re trying to work out arrangements.”

The two foreign ministers met at the Johor-Singapore Causeway’s mid-way point because of border restrictions imposed on both countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore and Malaysia had earlier agreed to implement the RGL and PCA, while setting 10 August as the target date to commence cross-border travel for some residents and business travellers between the two countries.

The RGL will allow travel between the city-state and Malaysia for “essential business and official purposes”.

Aside from abiding with prevailing COVID-19 prevention and public health measures, eligible travellers will have to provide a “controlled itinerary” to the receiving country, which should be adhered to during their visit.

The PCA, on the other hand, will allow Malaysia and Singapore residents who hold long-term immigration passes for work and business purposes to enter both countries for work.

Eligible travellers can travel back to their home country for short-term home leave following at least three consecutive months in their country of work. Such travellers can then return to their country of work for another three consecutive months to continue work.

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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