Following the announcement of a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Singapore and Malaysia via Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, there have been talks of reopening the land link with Johor Bahru as well.
Previously on Nov. 15, Gan said that the government would be able to launch this "hopefully in a few weeks' time".
Today (Nov. 20), in response to questions from the media during a Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) press conference, Gan provided more updates.
More details to be shared next week
He shared that Singapore and Malaysia have been working closely together to finalise the operational details of the land link to ensure that the border can be opened in a safe manner.
Gan said that he is "optimistic" that the VTL-like land link can be launched around the end of November, close to the launch of the VTL for air travel on Nov. 29.
"It is also possible that we may be able to do so on the same day [as the VTL]," Gan said.
Chief Minister of Johor Hasni Mohammad previously claimed that the land link would be implemented from Nov. 29.
However, Gan continued that the details are still being worked out, and that hopefully the Singapore government will be able to share the plans "some time next week".
He added that details on how Singaporeans can book their tickets and make travel arrangements for the land link will be explained later, "probably next week".
Start off with a quota
Gan added that they will likely only allow a limited number of people to cross the border via the land link.
"We will start with a smaller number with a certain limited quota. We are not likely to go back to the pre-Covid-19 days where you have hundreds of thousands of people travelling both directions every day."
He emphasised that the priority is to allow families who have been separated across the border since the start of the pandemic to reunite.
Therefore, the first phase of the land-based VTL "will focus on this group of people".
"Subsequently we can think about expanding the scope to allow more people to travel.
I think it's also important for us to ensure that we are able to do so in a safe way through tests and so on to make sure that this [land-based] VTL will continue to be able to allow citizens and PRs from both sides, and residents on both sides, to travel safely."
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