JOHOR BARU: The possibility of a Vaccinated Travel Lane by sea (VTL-Sea) could be discussed at a Malaysia-Singapore joint ministerial committee (JMC) as early as January, said Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.
If implemented, he said, VTL-Sea could help revive the local tourism sector which had been crippled by the pandemic.
“The VTL-Sea was first suggested by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in a recent meeting with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, who said the matter could be considered.
“I hope that it could be discussed during the upcoming Malaysia-Singapore JMC.
“If both countries are agreeable on the travel lane, maybe a joint task force could be formed to discuss it immediately,” he said during a press conference after launching the Iskandar Perantis Programme at Educity Sports Complex in Iskandar Puteri here yesterday.
Ismail Sabri met Lee during his official visit to the republic in conjunction with the commencement of the air and land VTLs on Nov 29.
Meanwhile, Hasni noted that the suggested VTL-Sea route would be between the new Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal, which is completed but not yet operational, and Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
The implementation of the VTL-Sea would be a light at the end of the tunnel for the tourism industry as many hotels and resorts, especially the smaller ones, have suffered or closed down, he said.
Separately in his speech during the programme, Hasni said he and state secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani were considering having a corporate communications officer in every Johor government department and agency to help better disseminate public information.
He said currently, those requiring assistance, including reskilling and upskilling courses, did not know where to get them.This poses a challenge to the state, he said, adding that he believed the matter could be tackled by having an individual tasked with reaching out, explaining and publicising the benefits available.
“I believe the response will exceed the targeted number of recipients because the state and federal governments have introduced many schemes to aid the public,” he added.