BANGKOK, Feb 26 ― Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is confident that Malaysia can implement the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) by May this year.

He said the Health Ministry (MoH) would be studying several proposals on Malaysia’s VTL with neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Brunei.

“The air VTL is easier to implement compared to land VTL as travellers arriving at airports can be quickly screened (for Covid-19). However, we need to avoid creating long queues of vehicles when conducting screenings at land entry points.

“We have given several proposals to the Health Ministry to find the best way to facilitate and expedite the implementation of the land VTL. I would like to stress that this matter can be settled before Hari Raya (this year),” he told a press conference for Malaysian journalists here today.

He said the land VTL, particularly between Thailand and Malaysia, was important because it not only involved tourism but also bilateral trade, especially border trade which accounted for half of the Malaysia-Thailand trade totalling US$10.5 billion (about RM44.1 billion).

He said Malaysia’s land VTL with Singapore and Brunei was important for the cross-border movement of people with these two countries.

“Almost 200,000 Malaysian workers commute between Malaysia and Singapore. Apart from this, at the Malaysia-Brunei border, those in Limbang and Lawas need to go through Brunei. Until today, they could not cross border yet,” he added.

Yesterday, Ismail Sabri and his Thai counterpart Prayuth Chan o-cha held a meeting in conjunction with his maiden official visit to Thailand as prime minister.

Malaysia and Thailand have agreed in principle to implement the air, land and sea VTL to facilitate the movement of people between the two countries.

After the meeting, Ismail Sabri said the relevant ministries and agencies would hold discussions to work out the standard operating procedure for the reopening of borders soon, the VTL for Malaysia and Test & Go for Thailand.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said Malaysia and Thailand had agreed to recognise their respective Covid-19 vaccination certificates ― MySejahtera (Malaysia) and Mor Prom (Thailand) ― to support their efforts to reopen their borders.

“We will follow up with the digital vaccination certificate recognition and integration of the MySejahtera and Mor Prom applications to facilitate cross-border travel between the two countries,” he said. ― Bernama