Malaysia-Singapore border opening delayed due to spike in Covid-19 cases, says Johor MB

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad speaks at the Johor Writers Association’s 43rd annual general meeting at Rumah Citra Sri Pinang in Pontian, Johor, November 27, 2020. — Bernama pic
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad speaks at the Johor Writers Association’s 43rd annual general meeting at Rumah Citra Sri Pinang in Pontian, Johor, November 27, 2020. — Bernama pic
PONTIAN, Nov 27 — The Johor government has admitted that the recent spike in Covid-19 positive cases in Malaysia, including Johor, may have delayed efforts to reopen the Malaysia-Singapore border.

Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that the increase in the number of positive cases involved several districts. Staff from government agencies and state government-linked companies (GLCs) are also undergoing a quarantine process.

“We really want to open the border as soon as possible because the Johor economy depends on the neighbouring country for employment opportunities and the cross-border economy that is to Johor’s advantage.

“However, with the increase in Covid-19 cases, our efforts to open the border have been delayed,” he said when addressing the Johor Writers Association’s 43rd annual general meeting at Rumah Citra Sri Pinang, here, today.

However, the state government is grateful to the federal government for agreeing to implement the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in certain areas instead of the state as a whole, he said.

As at yesterday, a total of 1,209 positive Covid-19 cases were reported in Johor with 60 of them being new cases.

The closure of the Malaysia-Singapore border began on March 18 when the government imposed the movement control order (MCO) in the country to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection.

The move has affected hundreds of thousands of Malaysians working in Singapore as they are unable to commute daily via the Johor Causeway or the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.

Meanwhile, Hasni said that the implementation of the food basket programme for Malaysians in Singapore will begin in the near future by targeting those who have been really affected by the border closure.

“For the initial stage, we will provide 1,000 food baskets to be distributed to those adversely affected individuals.

“This initiative is to ease their burden and is also a form of appreciation for their perseverance in continuing to work to support their families,” he said.

When tabling the Johor 2021 Budget yesterday, Hasni said the food baskets, a collaborative effort with the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore and the Malaysia-Singapore Association, would be sent through a non-governmental organisation called Southern Volunteers. — Bernama

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