JOHOR BARU: The reopening of the border between Malaysia and Singapore will be great news for those who have been separated from their families since March last year.
Johor Mentri Besar adviser Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said talks between both governments about land travel under a “Vaccinated Travel Lane-like arrangement” has given the people hopes of reuniting with their families.
“Malaysians have been anticipating this since both governments announced that air travel will be allowed between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Changi Airport starting Nov 29," he said
“It will be great if land travel is allowed on Nov 29 too along with the air travel VTL so that Malaysians, especially Johoreans, in Singapore can finally meet with their loved ones again,” added Tee in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 17).
Following the announcement of a VTL between KLIA and Changi on Nov 8, Singapore’s The Straits Times reported on Nov 15 that the Malaysia-Singapore land border could reopen in a few weeks’ time, in what could be a major step in easing the 20-month segregation of the two neighbouring countries.
The report quoted the island republic’s Covid-19 multi-ministry task force co-chairman and Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong as saying that the discussions were progressing well with Malaysia and they were “working to launch this soon, hopefully in a few weeks’ time”.
Gan was referring to the phased opening of Woodlands Causeway and Tuas Second Link.
Meanwhile, Tee, who is also the Pontian MCA division chief, thanked the Malaysian and Singaporean governments for listening to the people’s voices and for considering the matter as most of the people from both nations have been vaccinated.
He was confident that both governments would take the necessary measures to prioritise safety among cross-border travellers.
“The border closure has deeply impacted not only the people’s relationships but also the economies of both countries as we share close ties that date way back," he said.
Tee added that many businesses from Singapore have invested in Johor and many residents frequently cross the border to shop in Johor Baru, while thousands of Malaysians commute to Singapore to work and earn a living.
“Local businesses are also anticipating the reopening of the land border as it will aid in the recovery of Johor’s economy, especially Johor Baru’s,” said Tee.