Johor & S'pore land crossing could be via just train & bus when it reopens, KL envoy hints

Not if, but when.

Belmont Lay | November 12, 2021, 06:30 PM

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The Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore said the relevant agencies in Malaysia and Singapore are ironing out issues pertaining to health, testing regimes, and cross-border processes, as the first step to reopen travel between the two countries in the near future is underway, The Star reported.

However, Azfar Mohamad Mustafar cautioned that reopening the land border is more complicated than the introduction of the Singapore-Malaysia vaccinated travel lane (VTL) for air travellers beginning on Nov. 29

He still sounded an optimistic note despite the logistical challenges.

"These are minor issues that I am sure will be sorted out soon," he said during an interview.

What would land crossing look like?

He also hinted at what a controlled land crossing would be like.

Asked if it was true that the land VTL would be open to those using public transport, such as trains and buses, in the initial stages, Azfar said: "I think this will be easier to manage instead of allowing people to drive their own cars and motorcycles across the Causeway."

But he cautioned that it would not be like pre-Covid-19 levels, when almost 200,000 to 300,000 people travelled between the two countries daily.

"For a start, we would need to have a controlled opening. That means limiting the number of daily commuters," he said.

Land crossing attractive

A land VTL would be attractive, he said, as it did not require a quarantine on both sides.

This would be unlike the other cross-border travel schemes, such as the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) and the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL).

Azfar added that Malaysia and Singapore have always had a strong relationship and he was confident any issue would be ironed out by the technical teams doing the negotiations on the two land borders reopening via the Causeway and the Second Link.

On Nov. 8, Malaysia and Singapore announced that they would reopen their mutual border with the VTL between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Changi Airport from Nov. 29.

Fully vaccinated travellers flying in and out via the VTL would be subjected to a Covid-19 test in lieu of serving a quarantine or stay-home notice.

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