S’pore hopes for full connectivity with M’sia in months

FOREIGN Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (pic) said he hoped full connectivity will be restored between Singapore and Malaysia following the reopening of the borders between the two countries.

Air travel has resumed to more than 180 flights a week to seven destinations across Malaysia, about 40% of the pre-pandemic flight connectivity levels of around 500 flights a week, said Dr Balakrishnan.

“We hope in the next few weeks and months to see a full resumption of air connectivity. On land, the Causeway and the Second Link have been opened.

“Especially over the long holiday weekends, there’s been extensive flow of traffic – not quite at the level pre-pandemic yet, but I am sure that will increase over time,” he told reporters on the last day of his three-day visit to Malaysia. A new ferry service from Desaru is also being explored.

Dr Balakrishnan said that Malaysia and Singapore enjoy a strong and close relationship that has been able to withstand the Covid-19 pandemic.

Such a close relationship has also made it easy for Singapore to maintain ties with its neighbour, despite the changes in government since the 2018 general election.

“The strength of the bilateral relationship, the closeness has been strengthened, and the levels of trust increased by actual performance during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The fact that we could work to support each other, and came through for each other in critical moments, made the difference. In terms of the bilateral political relationship, it’s strong, we are dependable.”

During his visit, Dr Balakrishnan was granted an audience with Sultan Nazrin Shah, the deputy king of Malaysia and the Sultan of Perak.

He called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and met Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and chairman of the National Recovery Council Muhyiddin Yassin, who was the previous prime minister. — The Straits Times/ANN

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