Singapore and Malaysia to reopen land, air travel on November 29

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Singapore and Malaysia’s quarantine-free travel arrangements will expand to include the busy land border between both nations, weeks after officials said air travel would open from November 29 with six flights a day.

Authorities on Wednesday announced that the land border, which served up to 300,000 daily travellers each day pre-pandemic, would also reopen from November 29 after being shut since March last year.

While the air lanes are open to all vaccinated travellers, the land crossing will for now only open up to vaccinated travellers who hold citizenship, permanent residency or work and student permits in either country.

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Both countries would take into account the Covid-19 pandemic situation before potentially expanding this lane to allow for general travellers.
Singapore’s Prime Minister’s Office said the limitation on who could use the lane for land crossings was to “give priority for those who have been working in either country to visit their families”.

The neighbouring countries have strong economic ties and are each other’s second most important trading partner after China, surpassing traditional commercial allies such as the United States and Japan. Singapore is also Malaysia’s largest source of visitors.

“Malaysia is Singapore’s closest neighbour and the two countries share deep and warm relations. The Causeway was one of the busiest land borders in the world before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our cross-border activities,” Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. “The launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (Land) is a big step towards reconnecting our people and economies, and will further enhance our bilateral relationship.”

From November 29, travellers can cross the land border by using designated bus services. There will be 32 such services a day operating from Singapore to Malaysia and another 32 in the other direction and ticket sales begin at 8am on November 25.
Thousands of Malaysian workers were trapped in Singapore when Malaysia last year shut its borders on March 18. The lockdown was only announced on March 16, forcing workers to decide if they wanted to stay in Malaysia with family or remain in the city state for work. The Singapore government then scrambled to match workers to temporary accommodation facilities in the city state.

Prior to the upcoming vaccinated travel air and land lanes, workers could commute under a separate scheme but under strict rules, such as a stay-home isolation period. There is also an arrangement that facilitates emergency visits, given the close familial ties that some in Singapore have with Malaysia.

Source: South China Morning Post

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