Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin will discuss the reopening of the Malaysia-Singapore border, among other things, with his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong during his visit to the city-state on 4 May, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Monday (12 Apr).
Hishammuddin said he will “make sure that this is in the agenda to be discussed” between the two leaders when they meet, as reported by The Star.
He stressed that Malaysia must seek Singapore’s approval on the opening of the borders, even if the Johor state government is pushing for its full opening within the next two months.
“The discussion process is still ongoing. Singapore’s Foreign Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan recently visited our country and we briefly discussed the matter,” he noted.
Dr Balakrishnan met Hishammuddin in Malaysia on 23 Mar, during which both countries expressed commitment to “progressively restore” cross-border travel for other groups of travellers, in addition to the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA).
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin also noted that the appointment process of the Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore — which has been vacant for a year now — was ongoing.
“There are still some technical issues that Wisma Putra must see to first,” he said. “I am not denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for us to place representatives of our embassies in several countries.”
The Malaysian High Commissioner post to Singapore was previously held by Zainol Rahim Zainuddin, who retired in April last year.
The post is currently being headed by a charge d’affaires for all diplomatic matters.
However, Hishammuddin said the bilateral ties of both countries has not been affected despite the absence of a Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore.
Netizens are against the reopening borders of both countries
Penning their thoughts under the comment section of CNA’s and ST’s Facebook posts, many netizens expressed their objection against reopening borders between the two countries now, given the high number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia.
Malaysia reported 1,317 new COVID-19 cases on Monday (12 Apr), with Sarawak recording the highest increase out of all states with 351 new cases.
Some netizens also pointed out that the number of imported COVID-19 cases in Singapore is still on the increase.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 25 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Monday, in which all of the new cases are imported.
One netizen opined that it is better to only allow cross-border travel “once the vaccines are taken by the traveller”.
Another said: “With the recent case of an FT (foreign talent) tested positive even after he had completed the vaccination 2 months ago, too risky to reopen.”
One commenter suggested waiting one or two more years to lift border controls, as doing so would be safer for both countries.
“We cant afford another lockdown,” they said.