Anxious wait for Malaysians

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020

Closed until further notice: No entry barriers are seen placed at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex to enter Singapore in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: While Malaysians working in Singapore are looking forward to being reunited with their families, many are putting their travel plans on hold until an official statement is made by both countries.

Although many have expressed relief at ongoing talks between the two governments to allow two-way daily commute to resume, they are waiting for further updates on the standard operating procedure.

Among them is commercial dive supervisor Zulkarnain Mohamed.

The 35-year-old said he would only travel back to Malaysia once he was assured that there would not be any problems for him to re-enter the city-state.

“Singapore still has a high number of active cases, but these are from foreign workers living in dormitories.

“I would suggest that special passes be issued to ensure those travelling are doing so for work-related purposes,” he said.

Security officer V. Mathivanan, 25, said news of the two governments having talks had given him a ray of hope as he had not seen his family since March 18.

“Hopefully, the border can be reopened as soon as possible,” he said.

“I am sure both sides will come up with proper measures to ensure this can be done safely.”

Assistant chemist M. Eddie, 25, prefers to remain in Singapore for at least two more weeks after the border reopens to monitor the situation first.

“I am looking forward to going back to Malaysia but I should wait and see what the developments are over the next few weeks.

“I also want to know whether the border would shut down again if there is a sudden spike in the number of cases in Malaysia,” he said.

Associate research coordinator Doris Lim, 25, looks forward to seeing her family again, but she will wait until a firmer official statement is announced.

“For now, I will just stay put here until more official information comes out from both countries,” she said.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Monday that discussions were being held and Malaysians, especially those living in Johor, could travel back and forth again once the terms had been outlined.

In a statement yesterday, Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said it welcomed Malaysia’s proposal to resume cross-border travel between the two nations.

“We are prepared to work with Malaysia to address the needs of cross-border travellers, including short-term business and official travellers and Malaysian workers who were previously commuting between Singapore and Malaysia.

“Such proposed arrangements would have to include mutually agreed public health protocol to allow the safe resumption of cross-border movement,” read the statement.

It added that both countries would require some time to work out the details and it would also depend on the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia and Singapore.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to reopen Malaysia’s border with Singapore to allow Malaysians working in the island republic to commute daily for work.

He said an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Malaysians travel to Singapore via the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex and the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ daily for work.

“I believe the Federal Government’s decision will protect the economic interest of both countries while ensuring that Malaysians working in Singapore will continue to earn a living,” Hasni said yesterday.

From today until Aug 31, Malaysia is in the recovery MCO phase while Singapore’s circuit breaker period ended on June 1.

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singapore , johor , malaysia , discussion , border , travel , mco , covid-19


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