Be cautious about reopening border


I REFER to the report “Call to reopen border to fill Singapore’s job vacancies” (The Star, Oct 4; online at bit.ly/star_johor).

The Covid-19 pandemic-triggered closure of the Johor-Singapore border has cost Johorians pay cuts, job losses and business closures. Though the Reciprocal Green Lane and Periodic Commuting Arrange-ment measures allow some travel, the number permitted to commute is a mere fraction of pre-pandemic commuters.

Reopening the Johor-Singapore border fully would no doubt revitalise the economies on both sides and allow many families to reunite – however, such action should not be taken lightly, especially in light of the sudden surge in infected cases in recent days in Malaysia.

The reopening of the border, if not planned cautiously, would not only put Singaporeans but also Malaysians who are already working in the city state at risk.

The Johor state government should weigh the benefits and importance of Johor-Singapore versus Malaysian interstate travel to explore the possibility of restricting travel across the Johor border to other Malaysian states. This may effectively restrict interstate transmission of the virus and control Johor’s community transmission better, giving the Singapore government more confidence in relaxing border restrictions.

Until an effective and safe vaccine is obtained, proper hygiene and safe distancing is the best defence against Covid-19.

It is the duty of all Malaysians to be socially responsible to ensure their own safety and the safety of fellow Malaysians by following the guidelines from the Health Ministry to prevent the spread of this virus in our country.

MALAYSIAN STUDENT

Birmingham, Britain

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