Johor government wants returning Malaysians who have been fully vaccinated in Singapore to be allowed to do their 14-day compulsory quarantine at home.
State health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said the move would not only allow them to save money but also spend more time with their families during the home quarantine period.
“This pandemic has caused a lot of hardship, especially to families living apart since March last year.
“We can understand the mental and emotional anguish faced by the thousands of Malaysians in Singapore,” he said when visiting Persada Johor International Convention Centre, which was a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Johor Baru.
He accompanied Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.
Vidyananthan added this would also help ease the financial burden of Malaysians who lost their job in Singapore and yet have to fork out additional funds for quarantine charges upon returning home to Johor Baru.
“We are hoping that the model used for those using the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) will be expanded to involve those who have already been vaccinated.
“The Mentri Besar will convey the state’s decision to the Federal Government. We hope to hear some good news soon,” he added.
Asked whether a similar move would be accorded to fully vaccinated Singaporeans visiting their families (as there is a sizeable number in Johor Baru), he said they would start with Malaysians first and see how that works out.
“If it is successful, we can always give feedback for more people who have been vaccinated to enter Malaysia,” he said.
Vidyananthan added that since the PCA and Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) were introduced, 33,900 people have used those avenues with seven Covid-19 positive cases reported.
Currently, a person returning to Malaysia and going back to Singapore would need to be quarantined for 28 days (14 days in Malaysia and 14 days in Singapore) at a designated facility.
The cost is about RM2,200 on the Malaysian side and S$2,200 (RM6,600) on the Singaporean side.
Earlier, the PCA required Malaysians to serve only a seven-day home quarantine and undergo a swab test.
However, since May 13, Malaysia imposed a strict 14-day quarantine for those entering from Singapore after the country reported the spread of new viral variants in the community.
The RGL was then suspended.
On another issue, Vidyananthan said variants of concern were suspected to be the cause of 13 deaths linked to the Tanjung Agas cluster in Tangkak.
As of last Wednesday, 462 Covid-19 cases have been detected from the cluster, with about 44.8% comprising workers from a semiconductor factory in the district.
Of those 207 factory workers affected, 155 were local workers while were 52 foreign, said Vidyananthan.
“The index patient for the cluster was a worker from the factory who started experiencing symptoms such as fever since June 26 but continued working until June 28.
“The worker tested positive for Covid-19 on July 2,” he added.
“On that day, the Tangkak District Health Department conducted an investigation on the factory, and based on contact tracing and screening, several other cases were identified involving workers there.
“The remaining 255 cases are family members of the workers,” he said, adding that the 13 deaths involved people with comorbidities.