JOHOR BARU, June 9 — The Johor government today welcomed the announcement made by Putrajaya to allow Malaysians to travel back and forth between Johor Baru and Singapore for work.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the decision was certainly encouraging, especially for the people of Johor who have been eking out their livelihood in the republic.

“The announcement could also be seen as a ray of light at the end of the tunnel after a difficult three months following the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) that began on March 18,” he said.

Hasni, who has been concerned about the issue since the border closure, said the decision by the Malaysian government to enforce the MCO from March 18 and Singapore’s implementation of the Circuit Breaker on April 7 had resulted in the majority of Malaysians working in the republic losing their source of income.

He noted that prior to the MCO and Circuit Breaker restrictions, about 200,000 to 250,000 Malaysians commuted daily to Singapore either through the Johor Causeway’s Sultan Iskandar Building Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex or the Second Link’s Sultan Abu Bakar Complex to work in various sectors, including manufacturing, hospitality and other services.

“I believe the decision by the federal government to allow Malaysians to travel back and forth into Singapore was made for the economic benefit of both countries.

“Indeed, Malaysia and Singapore need each other, let alone as neighboring countries,” said Hasni in a statement issued here today.

Yesterday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the special ministerial meeting on the MCO had agreed to allow Malaysians to travel back and forth between Johor Baru and Singapore.

The implementation will only start after Wisma Putra has finished negotiations with its Singaporean counterpart and Ismail Sabri added that Putrajaya is willing to agree to any conditions imparted by its neighbour.

However, Hasni said the health and safety aspects of the workers must be given priority so that they do not trigger a new cluster of Covid-19 infections.

Therefore, he said the cooperation of all parties, between the government, employers and workers is very much needed.

“All standard operating procedures (SOP) that will be discussed and decided by the governments of both countries will be complied with.

“The Johor government will continue to assist and cooperate with the federal government as well as the Singapore government to facilitate all matters necessary for the process to go smoothly.

“Hopefully this easing of restrictions will help drive and boost the economic sector of both countries,” said Hasni.

The main Johor Causeway connects the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar’s CIQ in Johor Baru to Woodlands in Singapore. The Second Link Crossing, located near Gelang Patah, is the second land route connecting the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex in Johor to Tuas in Singapore.

It is estimated that more than 250,000 people enter and exit Singapore from Johor via both the Johor Causeway in Johor Baru and the Second Link Crossing on a daily basis, in what is often described as one of the world’s busiest international border crossings.