Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the tourism sector was among the key economic growth sectors for Malaysia.
“States such as Melaka, Penang, Negri Sembilan and Langkawi are depending on foreign tourists, including from Singapore, but Johor is different as it is much more closer to the island republic.
“Both governments are in discussions to reopen our borders with the proper standard operating procedures (SOP) in place.
“We will be making a joint statement once the time is right,” he added.
On another matter, Mustapa said engagement sessions to discuss improvements to the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) involving ministries, state governments and agencies were expected to be completed soon.
He added that the engagement sessions, which were expected to end in the next three weeks, were to provide opportunities for parties involved to present their applications, besides taking into account the current changes in the economic climate.
Mustapa said he met with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad to discuss, among others, the applications made by the state government related to allocations under the 12MP.
“The government has also introduced several short-term initiatives, among them the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) is drafting the long-term economic plan which will be put under the 12MP.
“These plans will help strengthen Malaysia’s economy,” he said.
It was reported that Singapore is prepared to work with Malaysia in addressing the needs of cross-border travellers, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
They 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 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 safeguard 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,” said the ministry’s spokesman.