Weekend trips to Singapore, Malaysia won’t happen ‘anytime soon’, says minister

Discussions are on track to finalise the SOPs to facilitate cross-border travel between the two nations. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said while many of the republic’s citizens and Malaysians are keen to take weekend trips to the other side of the Causeway, it will not happen anytime soon.

Bernama reported Gan as saying that the daily commute arrangement was going to be “quite stringent, quite tight” and will prioritise employees in essential services who needed to travel on a daily basis.

“So, I think those who are thinking about holidays, unfortunately, you have to put off the idea for quite some time yet,” Gan, who is also the co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Task Force on Covid-19, was quoted by the national news agency as saying.

He was referring to the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) initiatives.

Malaysia and Singapore are aiming to implement the two travel schemes on Aug 10.

The RGL will allow travellers on essential business and official purposes, who will be swabbed upon entry and required to submit an itinerary for their visit.

The PCA allows citizens with long-term immigration passes to enter either country for work purposes.

Singapore’s National Development Minister Lawrence Wong meanwhile said discussions were on track to finalise the SOPs to facilitate cross-border travel between the two nations through the PCA and RGL.

Wong said the two countries were still discussing another aspect of the travel arrangements involving daily commuters.

“As we highlighted before, we do not want to see the large volume of daily commuters as was the case before Covid-19.

“It is simply because on both sides neither Malaysia nor Singapore will be able to accommodate that large a volume of travellers on a daily basis in a safe and sustainable manner,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Both sides have agreed to publish the requirements, health protocols, and application process involved for entry and exit into Malaysia and Singapore, 10 days before the implementation of the RGL and PCA.