Singapore, Malaysia in talks to re-open borders

Numbers will not be as high as before, says minister; hopes come as restrictions ease in Hong Kong with officials weighing up safe-travel zones between regions

SINGAPORE government ministers have welcomed a proposal by Malaysia to resume cross-border travel between the two countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore said it was prepared to work with Malaysia to address the needs of cross-border travellers, including short-term business and official travellers and Malaysian workers who were previously commuting to  Singapore.

Proposed arrangements would have to include mutually agreed public health protocols to allow the safe resumption of cross-border movement, a Singapore government spokesman said.

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“Both countries will require some time to work out the details and this will also depend on the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia and Singapore,” the spokesman added.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong was quoted by the Singapore Straits Times as saying: “We are not talking about large volumes, daily commuters coming in and out freely…

”We are talking about resumption of travel but in a controlled manner and in a safe manner for both sides, and that is in our mutual interest,” Wong said.

Singapore support enters MICE phase

The talks come as officials in other parts of Asia examine the easing of restrictions amid fewer Covid-19 outbreaks.

Hong Kong announced the re-opening of Ocean Park and travel between Australia and New Zealand is set to resume. Officials are also considering “travel bubbles” between neighbouring regions that would later link with other countries considered to be safe.

Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific are also allowing transit passengers travelling on their respective airline routes to board connections to other destinations.

A third phase of lockdown easing is underway in Bangkok as part of a national plan in Thailand. Among the premises scheduled to open are exhibition and convention venues, and the Grand Palace.

Entertainment venues, bars, gyms and other designated businesses in Thailand are to remain closed until further notice.

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