Time to open JB-Singapore border, Putrajaya told

About 300,000 Malaysians worked in Singapore before the outbreak of the pandemic, mostly travelling by land across the Causeway and the Second Link. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The previous deputy health minister has called for the reopening of borders between Malaysia and Singapore now that both countries are reporting reductions in Covid-19 cases.

Speaking to FMT, Dr Lee Boon Chye noted that Malaysians were not in the clusters of infected foreign workers in Singapore.

“Since cases involving citizens of the two countries are low, we can treat both borders as parts of a travel bubble that may not need stringent daily testing,” he said.

However, he added, travellers must be required to download apps that facilitate contact tracing.

“They must download MySejahtera while in Malaysia and use the Singapore-based app while on the island,” he said. “Both apps will pick up signals of their movements.”

He said travelling between Johor Bahru and Singapore could be regulated in the same way Malaysia had been treating risk zones. For example, those in red zones are not allowed to enter other zones.

Lee was responding to a report in which Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mustapa Mohamed was quoted as saying the government had received a proposal to implement a travel bubble with neighbouring countries but had not decided on the matter.

Early last week, senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Singapore had asked Putrajaya to allow border crossings to help businesses in the republic fill manpower needs.

Malaysian borders have been shut since March 18, preventing more than 250,000 Malaysians from going back to work abroad.

Lee also suggested that a committee of Malaysian and Singaporean officials carry out frequent meetings to share information with the aim of easing cross-border travelling.

“Adjustments can be made on a daily basis depending on rates of infection,” he said.

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