More Singapore-Malaysia travel options coming next month: PMs

The heads of Singapore and Malaysia today announced that they will further relax land travel by allowing more across the border in more modes of transport.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at a joint news conference at The Istana that they are looking to allow vaccinated travelers other than Singaporean citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders to travel to Malaysia in about two weeks.

“Our economies are extensively intertwined. Our peoples share strong bonds of kinship, friendship, and memories. So the closing of borders was very tough on both sides,” Lee said.

Starting today, buses to Johor and no-quarantine flights to Kuala Lumpur have resumed. For land travel, the priority has been given to workers from either country who have been unable to visit families since borders shut in March 2020. 

Despite the recent emergence of the Omicron variant, Lee said they will continue trudging toward their goal of reopening more crossings while monitoring the situation closely.

“But even if Omicron disrupts these plans, our goal will still be to have more open borders between Singapore and Malaysia, and after some time we will be able to make further progress,” Lee said.

He added that there are ongoing discussions to pilot vaccinated travel by sea between the countries’ ports. He said the construction of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link project continues and will open by the end of 2026. There are also discussions to revive the high speed rail line to Kuala Lumpur that was terminated last year.

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Earlier today, both prime ministers were at Woodlands Checkpoint for the resumption of a bus link capped at nearly 3,000 passengers daily. A positive COVID-19 case was detected at the Johor Causeway upon arrival from Singapore, according to Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. The Johor Bahru District Health Office is currently discussing whether passengers on the same bus will be quarantined.

Singapore yesterday recorded 747 infections – the lowest daily tally since September – and 11 deaths. The seven-day average has fallen to just more than 1,400 daily cases.

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