ISKANDAR PUTERI: The government is expected to despatch additional Covid-19 vaccines to Johor soon to inoculate between 50,000 and 100,000 Malaysian workers so that the border with Singapore could reopen by May or June.
“The Federal Government will have to import more vaccines so that those who have to work in Singapore can get vaccinated earlier, ” said Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.
He said reopening the border with Singapore would be vital in spurring Johor’s economy.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry would be handling the supply of additional vaccines to Johor to help inoculate these workers, he said, adding that the state government was very grateful to minister Khairy Jamaluddin for his assistance.
The two land borders have been closed since March 18 last year.
In an interview with The Star, Hasni said that vaccinations for Malaysian workers to Singapore would be done in stages as there were about 400,000 Malaysians who travel through the border daily.
“We will start with about 50,000 to 100,000 doses first. As Malaysia is also using the same vaccines as Singapore (Pfizer-BioNTech), it should not be difficult for both countries to recognise the inoculation process via a certificate available on the MySejahtera app, ” he added.
Those vaccinated should not be required to be quarantined, he stressed, while advising those working in Singapore to register for the vaccination and show proof of employment over there when the time comes.
Hasni also said that the state government had sent its proposal to Putrajaya to open up a third category for cross-border travel with Singapore.
The first two categories are the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA), while the third is the Daily Commuting Arrangement (DCA).
Malaysia and Singapore started the PCA and RGL on Aug 17 last year.
Under the PCA, 2,000 Malaysians and Singaporeans with long-term work permits can cross the Causeway and the Second Link daily.
The RGL allows 400 Malaysians and Singaporeans to travel between the two countries every week for official and business matters.
“As long as the two countries can agree on a common SOP and vaccination certificate, it will mean that Singaporeans who have been vaccinated can cross into Johor without needing to be quarantined.
“This also includes Malaysian who have been vaccinated there who want to return home, ” he added.
As of March 8, Singapore has vaccinated close to 400,000 people.
Of these, more than 220,000 have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regime.
On the vaccination process, Hasni, who has taken his first dose of the vaccine, is upbeat about his next dose on March 22.
“So far, based on what I have been told, there are no adverse effects among those who have taken the vaccine... only some throat irritation, ” he said, adding that Johor started its vaccination process on March 1.