Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan met Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad right at the Singapore-Johor Causeway yesterday morning (26 July).
Dr Balakrishnan shared this piece of news onto his Facebook, announcing that both Ministers had “settled arrangements” for the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA).
In his statement, he explained that these two schemes will be for a “limited group of people” for now, and the applications will begin on 10 August.
“These schemes will facilitate cross-border travel for official, business and work purposes, and help to progressively restore some of the extensive people-to-people interactions and economic exchanges between Singapore and Malaysia. It will be for a limited group of people for now, and done in a controlled manner.”
Understanding that many Singaporeans want to travel to Malaysia again, as well as the ones who wish to travel for “compassionate reasons”, Dr Balakrishnan noted the importance of the method to open up the borders in a “safe and calibrated way”.
Despite intending to address the needs of different groups of cross-border travellers, he stressed that both Singapore and Malaysia “have to be cautious” about opening up the borders.
“But in these extraordinary times, we have to be cautious. So while we are committed to addressing the needs of different groups of cross-border travellers, including those who wish to travel for compassionate reasons, the most vital question now is how to open up our borders in a safe and calibrated way.”
Other than that, the Foreign Affairs Minister expressed the importance of observing the “necessary public health safeguards” to ensure both Malaysia and Singapore are able to recover from the impact caused by COVID-19.
Dr Balakrishnan also noted how several cities around the world encountered second waves of COVID-19 infections as they opened up, stating that Singapore would “want to avoid that”. He went on to address that the Singaporean government’s priority is to protect the health and safety of Singaporeans.
Lastly, he asked Singaporeans to have understanding and patience as the nation is yet to be ready for “full and open travel”.
“I seek the understanding and patience of Singaporeans that we are still some time away from full and open travel, even to Malaysia. Rest assured we are continuing to work hard on this with our friends across the causeway.”