Vietnam in ‘green bubble’ list

KLUANG: Vietnam has been added to the list of “green bubble” countries in Asia that Malaysia will have talks with in its efforts to reopen its borders, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic).

Vietnam is the sixth country placed in the “green bubble” list.

The “green bubble” or “green lane” concept refers to the easing of travel restrictions between countries where Covid-19 infections have been contained.

“It is part of our efforts to establish bilateral economic and tourism activities among countries with a mutual understanding in the context of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“We have announced five countries previously.

“Last week, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin held a discussion with Vietnam’s prime minister and we added another country to the list, ” he said after handing over Covid-19 kits to schools within the Sembrong parliamentary constituency yesterday.

Among the countries are Brunei, Singapore and Japan.

Hishammuddin also said that Singapore’s general election would not cause a delay in the reopening of the border between the island republic and Malaysia.

“Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong was present during the virtual Asean Summit meeting on Friday and previously, even after the election was announced, I was also still in discussion with Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, ” he said.

He said the reopening of the border would be carried out carefully and would take into consideration the capacity of both countries.

“The reopening will be carried out in stages where we have divided the groups of people into four categories.

“The first category is professionals, including those involved in business.

“The second category refers to Malaysians working and living in Singapore, estimated to be about 20,000 to 25,000 people, ” he said.

The third category comprises Malaysians working in Singapore who commute from Johor to the island republic on a daily basis.

It is estimated that there are between 200,000 and 250,000 of them in this category.

Lastly, the fourth category refers to citizens of Malaysia and Singapore in general.

“We are focusing on the first two categories at the moment and we hope to be able to reopen the border for these two groups as soon as possible.

“The other two categories are more complex as they involve a large number of people.

“We need to ensure we have the capacity to run Covid-19 tests for them, ” he said.

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