Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said on Tuesday (9 June) that Singapore is in “serious talks” with Malaysia to reopening cross-border travel, while he cautioned that Singapore is only “at the beginning of opening up”.
Earlier on Monday (8 June), Malaysia’s Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that Malaysians working in Singapore can cross-border travel again after both Governments conclude on the matter.
He added that Malaysians can go through COVID-19 screenings before going back to work in Singapore, if that is among the conditions.
Speaking to CNA938, Mr Balakrishnan said that the current pandemic is still a “danger” and Singapore is only starting to reopen after the circuit breaker, thus both countries need to have “constructive dialogue and consultation” on the matter.
“Despite the issues that may arise from time to time, we need to have open, honest, constructive dialogue and consultation all the time,” he remarked.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong had said in a virtual press conference on Monday that measures, safeguards, and precautions have to be in place before travel can resume between Singapore and Malaysia.
“Measures, safeguards, and precautions have to be put in place to ensure the resumption of safe travel between Singapore and Malaysia, so we are discussing all these with our Malaysian counterparts, (including) exactly how many people, what kinds of protocols will be put in place and which industries (will be involved),” Mr Wong noted.
Before the border reopens, testing may have to be done, a quarantine period may have to be imposed, or a combination of both measures will be implemented, he added.
Netizens think it’s still too soon to reopen the borders
Nevertheless, many netizens opposed the idea of reopening the borders as they penned their thoughts under the comments section of Channel News Asia’s YouTube video.
Some implored the Government to “think carefully” before reopening the borders.
A few netizens commented that the Government should focus on developing the COVID-19 vaccine instead of reopening the borders.
Others commented that the reopening of borders should be done at least after the country has passed phase two.
One netizen went on to suggest setting the number of people that can cross-border travel between the two countries, carry out swab tests and make it compulsory to undergo seven-days of stay before they cross borders again.