Review quarantine for returnees from Singapore

  • Nation
  • Friday, 25 Sep 2020

Slow days: With no visitors from across the Causeway, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee in Johor Baru appears deserted. — NUR AISYAH MAZALAN/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia should review the travel SOP with Singapore, which has started easing requirements including shortening the quarantine period, officials here say.

From Sept 1, Malaysians travelling to Singapore were given a seven-day stay-home notice (SHN) there.

But Malaysia still imposed up to 14 days’ quarantine at designated quarantine centres for travellers entering here.

Malaysian-Singapore Workers (Pemas) Task Force president Dayalan Sreebalan said thousands of Malaysians with Singapore PR status were also losing out as they were unable to travel under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA).

He said they were required to use the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and then spend 14 days at designated quarantine centres upon returning to Malaysia.

“Singapore has standardised all documentation for PCA. This means they are given seven days SHN and a swab test.

“Malaysia however requires our people to spend 14 days at quarantine centres as PRs do not have FINs (foreign identification numbers as this is a compulsory requirement for all PCA applications.

“Why can’t our Immigration or Health Ministry allow PRs to use Mykad numbers and allow them to travel under PCA?” he asked, adding that FIN numbers were given by the Singapore Manpower Ministry to Malaysians who applied for work passes there.

“The time has come for both countries to allow for daily commuters to start crossing under the third category, ” he said, adding that his task force was handling many cases daily in helping Malaysians return home due to illness or to attend funerals.

Dayalan said the government should push private laboratories to get Covid-19 test results out within 48 hours so that people did not have to stay longer at quarantine centres.

“Since the PCA and RGL started in August, more than 5,500 people have travelled between both countries with only one known Covid-19 case, ” he said, adding that people’s livelihood was at stake if the border was not reopened soon.

A Malaysian who wanted to be known as Hwan used the RGL to enter Singapore for an 11-day business trip and was taken aback when asked to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a hotel here when he returned.

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