Malaysia to continue discussion on reopening borders with Singapore

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Mustapha Mohamad

KAULA LUMPUR – The Malaysian government is set to continue the discussion with Singapore on reopening the border, amid spike in Covid-19 cases in past few days.

According to Economic Affairs Minister Mustapha Mohamad, The council always discuss this issue during the weekly meetings. The last meeting talks about the tourism sector affected by Covid-19 pandemic and border closure.

The country lost around half of foreign tourists and 50% came from Singapore.

The Malaysian government has been pushing to reopen the two land links with Singapore as many Malaysians are working in Singapore and the Johor economy are relying of the visitors from the south.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapha said that discussion with Singapore is being headed by Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Mustapha added that they understand that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused alot of problems and that the government should balance between health and economy.

The country is hopeful that the border with Singapore will be opened gradually to help Johor’s economy.

Johor’s Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said last month that there are currently 100,000 Malaysians who is at risk of losing their jobs if they continue the border closure. Johor’s unemployment rate was already at a record high at 18% with 35,000 people unemployed.

Under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes, Malaysians and Singaporeans who are on a long-term social visit pass are allow to cross borders for two weeks to a month if they have stayed in the country of their employment for the past three months. The RGL scheme indicates that those residing in Singapore are allowed to enter Malaysia for a maximum 14-day stay for business and official purposes.

Related Article: https://www.theasianaffairs.com/asean-news/2020/07/14/malaysia-and-singapore-aim-to-create-transit-arrangements-for-long-term-passengers-and-important-travelers/

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