Singapore prepared to work with Malaysia in lifting border restrictions

SINGAPORE (Bernama): Singapore is prepared to work with Malaysia in addressing the needs of cross-border travellers, amid the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic situation.

The travellers include short-term business and official travellers, as well as Singaporeans and Malaysians who were previously commuting between the two countries.

The republic's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this in a statement today in response to media queries on Malaysia’s proposal to lift border restrictions between Singapore and Malaysia.

"Such bilateral arrangements would have to include mutually agreed public health protocols, to preserve the public health and safety of citizens on both sides.

"Both countries will require some time to work out the details on the gradual easing of border restrictions to ensure a stable recovery from the Covid-19 situation,” the ministry’s spokesman said.

On Friday (June 19), Malaysia had in principle agreed to allow Singaporeans and Bruneians to enter the country’s borders without having to apply for approval from the Malaysian Immigration Department, or to undergo COVID-19 screening or home quarantine.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, however, this was on condition that Malaysians would also be afforded the same privileges by the Singapore and Brunei governments.

"The relaxation of the border restrictions must be reciprocated and both these countries must allow Malaysians to enter their countries without any restrictions, as we have allowed,” he said during his press conference on the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) here on Friday.

Ismail Sabri, who is also the Minister of Defence, said Wisma Putra was currently discussing the matter with Singapore’s Foreign Ministry, and that Malaysia’s decision to relax restrictions was dependent on the outcome of the discussions being held.

He said the permission to enter Malaysia without restrictions would only be granted to Singaporeans and Bruneians who were living in their respective countries, adding that the two countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia, were currently classified as Green Zones by Malaysia’s Health Ministry.

Since the Malaysian government imposed the Movement Control Order (MCO) from March 18 to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysians were prohibited from entering Singapore affecting thousands who commute to the island republic daily to earn a living. Also, Singaporeans who were in Malaysia were allowed to return home but were not allowed to re-enter Malaysia during the MCO. - Bernama
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