M'sia & S'pore discussing reopening border soon: M'sia foreign minister

A proposal for daily commute between the two countries will also be submitted.

Fiona Tan | September 24, 2021, 01:09 PM

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Malaysia and Singapore are discussing the possibility of reopening borders soon, Malaysia's foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Sep. 23.

Discussions of borders reopening

Saifuddin made this revelation while addressing lawmakers in the Dewan Rakyat, according to The Star.

This was in response to the lawmakers' concerns of the Malaysian families having been separated for more than two years since borders closed on Mar. 18, 2020, due to the pandemic.

Matter raised

Saifuddin said this matter has been raised to Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's Senior Defence Minister and committee member of Malaysia's Covid-19 National Recovery Plan.

Saifuddin added that he was informed that Malaysia's health minister Khairy Jamaluddin had spoken about how borders between both countries can be reopened in a phone call with Singapore's health minister Ong Ye Kung.

"I was also informed that the Health Minister was in a telephone conversation with his Singaporean counterpart on how borders can be reopened between the two countries," Saifuddin said.

"I pray and hope that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible."

Saifuddin said the reopening of borders between Malaysia and Singapore would pave the way for the opening up of air routes with other countries like Thailand.

Issue of Malaysians separated for two years

He was responding to the issue raised by Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Syed Saddiq said he has received numerous pleas from Malaysians, who have not seen their loved ones for two years.

"This has led to mental problems for some, including divorces between married couples who have been separated," Syed Saddiq said.

Singapore-Johor daily commuting arrangement

According to The New Straits Times, Saifuddin also touched on the Daily Commuting Arrangement, a "proposed daily cross border movement" between Johor and Singapore.

The proposal, which was agreed upon during the virtual state security special committee meeting on Sep. 23, will be submitted to Putrajaya by the Chief Minister of Johor, Hasni Mohammad.

According to the Malay Mail, Hasni separately said the state government is working to boost the number of Covid-19 vaccinations in Johor.

This will be done by collecting the data on Johor employees who have been vaccinated in Singapore, which will be updated in the MySejahtera application.

Hasni also expressed his gratitude that Johor was entering phase two of the National Recovery Plan, but emphasised that vaccination rates must increase to achieve its target of 90 per cent of adults being vaccinated.

"Until Wednesday, the vaccination rate in Johor is at 73.3 per cent, with a total of 1.98 million adults having completed both doses of vaccine," he said.

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