COVID-19: Singapore, Malaysia agree to establish two cross-border travel arrangements

A trickle of traffic seen along the Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore on 18 March 2020, the first day of Malaysia's two-week border lockdown. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to establish Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and a Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) to address the needs of different groups of cross-border travellers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the RGL will facilitate cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes between both countries, the PCA will allow Singapore and Malaysia residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to periodically return to their home countries for short-term home leave.

No dates have yet been set for the two measures to be implemented.

Discussion between PM Lee and PM Muhyiddin

In a media release on Saturday (27 June), Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had met his Malaysian counterpart Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday to discuss the gradual and phased resumption of cross-border travel between the two countries.

“Prime Minister Lee reiterated Singapore’s commitment to address the needs of Singaporeans and Malaysians who were previously commuting between both countries,” the media release said.  

“Prime Minister Lee and Prime Minister Muhyiddin agreed that any bilateral arrangement would have to include mutually agreed public health protocols, to preserve the public health and safety of citizens on both sides, while taking into account the medical resources available in both countries.”

How RGL and PCA will work

MFA said in the media release that the RGL will be used to facilitate cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes between both countries.  

Travellers under this arrangement would have to adhere to a set of COVID-19 prevention and public health measures, which are under discussion and will have to be mutually agreed upon by both countries.

Meanwhile, the PCA will allow Singapore and Malaysia residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to return home for leave after spending at least three consecutive months in their country of work.

They will be allowed to re-enter their country of work after their home leave.

PM Lee and PM Muhyiddin have tasked their officials to work expeditiously on the operational details of the RGL and PCA, as well as continue discussions on other proposals to gradually facilitate more cross-border movement of people.

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