SINGAPORE, Nov 15 — A land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Malaysia is expected to be launched in a few weeks’ time, said the Singapore Multi-ministry Taskforce on Covid-19.
“Our discussions with Malaysia on a VTL-like arrangement for our land links has progressed well,” co-chair Gan Kim Yong said at a virtual press conference here today.
“We are working to launch this soon… hopefully in a few weeks’ time,” Gan, who is also the republic’s Minister for Trade and Industry, added.
Singapore and Malaysia, he said, shared close ties on many fronts – especially among the people.
“Many families have been separated from one another for a long time because of border restrictions. We hope this land link arrangement will allow many of them to be reunited, and they will be one of our priorities,” he said.
Both countries had, on November 8, announced that they will launch a VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from November 29, 2021.
The Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Azfar Mohamad Mustafar had recently said the relevant agencies in Malaysia and Singapore were ironing out related issues such as health, testing regimes and cross-border processes.
“These are minor issues that I am sure will be sorted out soon,” he reportedly said, adding that reopening the land border was a bit more complex than the VTL.
He cautioned that it would not be like pre-Covid-19 levels, when almost 200,000 to 300,000 people travelled between the two countries daily.
“For a start, we would need to have a controlled opening. That means limiting the number of daily commuters,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that unlike the other cross-border travel schemes introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) and the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), the land VTL would be attractive as it did not require a quarantine on both sides.
To a question that as an initial move, the land VTL would be open to those using public transport such as trains and buses, Dr Azfar said: “I think this will be easier to manage instead of allowing people to drive their own cars and motorcycles across the Causeway.” — Bernama