KUALA LUMPUR: The government is negotiating with 12 countries to implement the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL), says the Foreign Ministry.
In a written reply in Parliament, the ministry said the countries were selected based on diplomatic relations and the need for cross-border travel.
"As such, for the Asean region, the Malaysian government is negotiating with Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.
"The other countries are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and the United Kingdom,” the ministry said in reply to a question by Larry Sng (PBM-Julau) regarding the list of countries included in the suggested expansion of bilateral relations between Malaysia and foreign countries under the VTL cooperation.
The ministry said there are three phases in the VTL negotiations - preliminary negotiations, comprehensive negotiations and implementation phases.
Only Singapore is in the implementation phase, with VTL-Air and VTL-Land being implemented since Nov 29 last year.
"The VTL that was previously suspended due to the Omicron wave has resumed on Jan 21 with a reduced quota of ticket sales of half of the original quota,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, comprehensive negotiations with Brunei, Indonesia and Korea were still ongoing.
Eight other countries that agreed to the implementation of the VTL - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Thailand - are at the preliminary negotiations phase.
"In conclusion, with the exception of VTL with Singapore, progress of negotiations over reopening of borders with the other identified countries are rather slow due to the spread of Omicron.
"Although each country has adopted a cautious approach, negotiations about targeted reopening of borders in stages are still ongoing, and the Foreign Ministry will continue to cooperate with all ministries and agencies to ensure the VTL coordination and negotiations can be implemented,” the ministry said. - Bernama