Singapore confident land VTL can launch soon

SINGAPORE: Singapore is optimistic that it will be able to launch the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Malaysia “at the end of this month close to the launch of the air VTL” scheduled on Nov 29.

“It is also possible that we may be able to do so on the same day,” said the co-chair of the republic’s Multi-ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Covid-19, Gan Kim Yong.

“But I must add that the details are still being worked out and we hope to be able to share the plans sometime next week so that there will be time for Singaporeans who want to make the travel to make the necessary arrangements,” he told a virtual press conference here yesterday.

He was responding to questions about, among others, if the exact date of the reopening of the Johor Baru-Singapore land border would take place on Nov 29 – the same day the air VTL will take effect.

Gan, who is also Trade and Industry Minister, said the details as to how Singaporeans can book tickets and make arrangements to travel will be explained later, probably next week.

“We will start with a smaller number with a certain limit or quota,” he added.

He said it will not likely go back to the pre-Covid-19 days where “you had hundreds of thousands of people travelling in both directions every day.”

The minister stressed that the first phase of the VTL for land is likely to focus on people who need to reunite with their families.

“We are likely to start with a smaller number.

“The priority is really on families who have been separated for a long time, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Some are working here, wanting to go back to reunite with their family members.

“Some Singaporeans are working in Malaysia and want to come back to Singapore to be with their family members,” Bernama reported Gan as saying.

Subsequently, he added: “We can think about expanding the scope to allow more people to travel.”

“I think if it is also important for us to ensure that we are able to do it in a safe way through tests and so on to make sure that this land VTL will continue to be able to allow citizens and permanent residents from both sides, and residents on both sides, to travel safely,” he said.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad had earlier said the VTL via the Causeway and Second Link will be opened simultaneously with the VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Nov 29.

It was also reported the initial phase of the land VTL would be opened to those using public transport such as trains and buses as it will be easier to manage instead of allowing people to drive their own cars and motorcycles across the border.

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