JOHOR BARU: For Malaysians who work across the Causeway, the news that more vaccines are on the way is good news indeed.
They feel that reopening the border after almost one year would be a step in the right direction to revive Johor’s economy.
Johor MCA Covid-19 pandemic task force chief Michael Tay described the state government’s plan to get an additional 50,000 to 100,000 vaccine doses for Malaysian workers as “the best news” so far.
“This is a ray of hope for the thousands of workers who have been affected by the border closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he said.
He said he hoped the government would also work with Singapore to standardise the SOP and vaccination certification to allow workers, who need to commute frequently, to be exempted from any form of quarantine.
Tay said that many of his Singaporean friends who have been vaccinated were also eager to enter Malaysia if there was no quarantine requirement here.
Johor Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar described the move for additional vaccines as “great news” for the state.
“Johor has been badly affected in terms of the economy compared to other states following the border closure with Singapore last year.
“Thousands of Malaysians workers who travel daily across the two land borders could not go to work for a long time while Singaporeans who have homes and businesses could not come here, ” he added.
Sivakumar expressed his hope that authorities from both sides would open up the border in stages to ensure smooth travel and avoid a spike in Covid-19 cases, while also urging Malaysian workers to take the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association (Perusim) secretary Hussein Ibrahim said opening up the border for daily commuters from both sides would help jump-start the state economy.
Businesses, particularly those near the Causeway, have been badly affected but opening the border soon would revive them, he said.
“We will need two months at least after the border reopening for businesses around the city centre here to be back on their feet.
“But what important is to allow Malaysian workers to commute daily between the two countries. This will have a chain effect on local businesses here, ” he said.