Malaysia and Singapore will work together towards recognising each other's COVID-19 vaccine certificates, in view of reopening the borders between the two countries in the future.

In a joint statement yesterday, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singaporean counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, also pledged that both nations will continue to work on their respective national vaccination programmes to vaccinate long-term residents, including Malaysians residing in Singapore, and Singaporeans residing in Malaysia.

Vivian is on a two-day working visit to Malaysia starting yesterday, which is part of his regional tour that includes Brunei and Indonesia.

Both ministers also stated that the countries will progressively restore cross-border travel for other groups of travellers in addition to the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA), taking into account the Covid-19 situation, as well as the public health and safety of residents of both countries.

For context, the RCL scheme will enable cross-border travels for essential business and official purposes between both countries, provided COVID-19 prevention and health measures, including taking swab tests, are followed.

The PCA scheme, meanwhile, will allow both Malaysia and Singapore residents, who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country, to enter the said country for work. This scheme would enable such residents to spend up to three months in their country of work, and return to their home country for a brief break, before returning to their country of work for another three consecutive months.

In August last year, Singapore had agreed on implementing the RGL travel agreement with Malaysia but the scheme was suspended following a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, last September.

According to Vivian, Singapore said the RGL scheme might resume from this coming May.

It is estimated that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, some 250,000 people used to travel between Malaysia and Singapore daily.

It was previously reported that the border closure between the two countries at the height of the pandemic caused 20,000 Malaysians to be "stranded" in the island republic, and those who wish to return to the country for compassionate reasons have to put in an appeal. This is on top of the expensive quarantine fees that they already have to fork out upon arrival in Malaysia.

Source: Bernama
Photo source: The Straits Times