‘Surprise’ quarantine after a short trip


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

JOHOR BARU: A woman who travelled from Johor to Singapore for a short business trip under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) arrangement was shocked to find that she had to be quarantined for 14 days upon returning to Malaysia.

Madam Tay said the telecommunications company she worked for in Singapore had submitted her RGL application prior to her week-long business trip.

But she was totally unprepared for a 14-day quarantine at a hotel after the trip.

She said more information about these quarantine procedures should be put up online on both Malaysian and Singaporean websites for the benefit of RGL applicants.

Tay, a Singapore permanent resident, was horrified to learn of the two-week quarantine as she had two children at home, accompanied by her Indonesian maid.

“I went on this trip thinking that I would be home-quarantined after returning from Singapore.

“Even my company did not know about this when they applied for my RGL from Singapore.

“I also hope Malaysia will speed up Covid-19 tests. In Singapore, I got my results within 24 hours,” she said, adding that many people might be put off from applying for RGL because of the two-week quarantine.

RGL allows for 400 Malaysians and Singaporeans to travel to and from the two countries every week for official travel or business matters.

Apart from RGL, there is also the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA), under which 2,000 residents of both countries with long-term work permits are allowed to cross the Causeway and the Second Link a day.

Both took effect on Aug 17.

Another Malaysian and Singapore permanent resident known as Hwan, who used RGL to enter Singapore for a business trip, said he too was taken aback when he was instructed to undergo quarantine for a fortnight at a hotel here after an 11-day trip to the island republic.

“I do not understand the rationale for such a long quarantine under RGL.

“Under PCA, it’s just about 48 hours before the swab test results are out and the patient is allowed to cut their wristband,” he said, adding that he had to fork out RM2,100 for his 14-day quarantine.

His trip to Singapore, he added, was arranged by his company and he was not eligible to travel under PCA as he is a permanent resident without FIN.

(FIN, an acronym for foreign identification number, is issued by the Singapore Manpower Ministry to Malaysians who apply for work passes there.)

Hwan reckoned that it was important for Malaysia to follow Singapore’s move and start easing travel restrictions by mandating only a seven-day quarantine upon return to Malaysia for those travelling under RGL.

Meanwhile, checks on Singapore’s Health Ministry website showed that Singapore has reduced the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) from 14 to seven days for people travelling from low-risk countries or regions beginning Sept 1.

Besides Malaysia, other low-risk countries identified are Australia (excluding Victoria state), Macau, mainland China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Those with their own homes are allowed to serve the seven-day SHN at home while others can do so at a hotel. But they are required to undertake a Covid-19 test.

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