Malaysia, Singapore target resumption of cross-border travel for some residents, essential businesses from Aug 10

Soo Wern Jun
·3-min read
Commuters take the Woodlands Causeway to Singapore from Johor a day before Malaysia imposes a lockdown on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore March 17, 2020. — Reuters pic
Commuters take the Woodlands Causeway to Singapore from Johor a day before Malaysia imposes a lockdown on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore March 17, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Malaysia and Singapore have both agreed today to reopen each other’s borders by August 10 through the implementation of Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA).

According to a joint statement from Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singapore counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, the RGL is meant for essential business and official purposes while the PCA for residents for business and work passes.

“These two schemes are meant to address the needs of different groups of cross-border travellers between both countries,” they said.

“Eligible travellers will have to abide by the prevailing Covid-19 prevention and public health measures mutually agreed upon by both countries which include undergoing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests.

“Travellers will also be expected to submit to relevant authorities of the receiving country a controlled itinerary and adhere to this controlled itinerary during their visit,” they said.

As for the PCA, it will allow Singaporean and Malaysian residents with 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 a short-term home leave, and thereafter re-enter

their country of work to continue work for at least another three consecutive months.

“These travellers will also have to abide by the prevailing Covid-19 prevention and public health measures mutually agreed by both countries,” they said.

They added that officials in Malaysia and Singapore were working towards the targeted implementation of RGL and PCA on August 10.

“This will give the opportunity for the relevant agencies of both governments to continue their consultation to finalise the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the two initiatives,” they said.

According to the ministers, both countries have agreed to publish the requirements, health protocols, and application process involved for entry and exit into Malaysia and Singapore, 10 days prior to their implementation of the RGL and PCA.

Both countries have also agreed to develop other appropriate schemes for cross-border movement of people including a daily cross-border commuting proposal for work purposes for travellers from both countries, while taking into account the required health protocols and available medical resources in both countries to ensure the safety of the citizens of both sides.

“This will allow both sides to progressively restore cross-border people-to-people interaction and economic exchanges,” they said.

Previously, Hishammuddin had said reopening the borders would not be easy as respective governments have to consider measures to curb Covid-19 can continue.

Hishammuddin also confirmed discussions were underway with six countries categorised as Covid-19 green zones in allowing international travels with exemptions.

The six Covid-19 green zone countries for conditional reopening of international borders were identified as Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Hishammuddin said the exemptions included those with official businesses, international students seeking to continue their studies and the importation of food supplies to neighbouring countries in South-east Asia.

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