Malaysia and Singapore Agree to Relax Curbs on Cross-border Travel

The announcement was made by Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian Foreign Minister, and Vivian Balakrishnan, his Singaporean counterpart

The governments of Malaysia and Singapore announced on Tuesday that the two countries have mutually agreed to relax travel restrictions imposed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, and resume a significant portion of necessary travel between them.

Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) and The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) are two schemes focussed on addressing the requirements of several groups of cross-border travelers, said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian Foreign Minister, and Vivian Balakrishnan, his Singaporean counterpart, in a joint statement.

Enabling Long-term Immigrants

The RGL will enable cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes between both countries on the conditions including having to submit and adhere to a controlled itinerary during their stay and to have a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test.

Singapore (Representational Picture) Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, the PCA will allow Singapore and Malaysia residents, who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work to enter the other country for work purposes, reported Xinhua news agency.

After at least three consecutive months in their country of work, they may return to their home country for short-term home leave, and thereafter re-enter their country of work to continue work for at least another three consecutive months.

Development of Appropriate Schemes

The two governments said they are targeting to implement the two schemes from August 10, as officials are working to finalize the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the implementation. The statement added that both countries had also agreed to develop other appropriate schemes for the cross-border movement of people including a daily cross-border commuting proposal for work purposes for travelers.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, hundreds of thousands of people used the two land crossings between Malaysia and Singapore daily, for work and tourism. The air travel between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was named one of the busiest cross border air routes in the world.

(With inputs from agencies)