JOHOR BARU: The introduction of the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) for air travellers beginning Nov 29 is the first step in reopening travel between Malaysia and Singapore in the near future, says the Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore.
Datuk Dr Azfar Mohamad Mustafar (pic) said the relevant agencies in Malaysia and Singapore were ironing out related issues such as health, testing regimes and cross-border processes.
“These are minor issues that I am sure will be sorted out soon,” he said, adding that reopening the land border was a bit more complex than the VTL.
He cautioned it would not be like pre-Covid-19 levels when almost 200,000 to 300,000 people travelled between the two countries daily.
“For a start, we would need to have a controlled opening. That means limiting the number of daily commuters,” he said in an interview.
He added that unlike the other green lanes introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic such as the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA), the land VTL would be attractive as it didn’t require a quarantine on both sides.
Asked if it was true that as an initial move, the land VTL would be reopened to those using public transport such as trains and buses, he said: “I think this will be easier to manage instead of allowing people to drive their own cars and motorcycles across the Causeway.”
Azfar said relations between Malaysia and Singapore have always been strong and that he was confident any issue would be ironed out by the technical teams doing the negotiations on the two land borders reopening.
Presently, Malaysia has two land crossings with the island republic via the Johor Causeway and Second Link in Iskandar Puteri.
On Monday, Malaysia and Singapore announced that they would reopen their mutual border with the VTL between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Changi Airport from Nov 29.
Under the VTL, fully-vaccinated travellers would be able to travel between both countries, subject to a Covid-19 test, in lieu of serving a quarantine or Stay-Home Notice.
On a separate issue, Azfar said for the Melaka polls, registered voters were given the opportunity to apply to the Election Commission to become postal voters.
However, that process ended on Nov 1.
Asked if there was a sizable number of such voters in Singapore, he said they did not have such information as not many Malaysians living in Singapore have registered with the Malaysian High Commission.
He said prior to the pandemic, many Malaysians did not see the need to register as they felt Singapore was just next to Johor.