News | Let fully-vaccinated Singaporeans travel freely here, says MP

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should allow fully vaccinated Singaporeans to travel freely in the country and skip quarantine once borders reopen, says former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

Speaking to FMT, Lee said if Malaysia was prepared to open up interstate travel once 90% of adults are fully vaccinated, Singaporeans should be accorded the same amount of freedom.

“There’s no difference between someone from Johor or Singapore travelling around if interstate travel is finally allowed. However, we still need to monitor the situation closely,” said Lee, who is MP for Gopeng.

Quarantines would not be workable for the tourism industry, he said. No one would want to travel to Malaysia if quarantine was still needed.

However, special restrictions should be placed on people from countries with new Covid-19 variants. They could be quarantined for one to two weeks, he said.

Lee suggested that a new smartphone application equivalent to MySejahtera be created to monitor the whereabouts of visiting Singaporeans.

“This must be sorted out between the Malaysian and Singapore governments so that it’s reciprocal for Malaysians going to Singapore. There must be a mechanism for everyone to check in to places where they have visited,” he said.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Koh Kar Chai said apart from vaccination certificates, a negative PCR test up to three days before arrival together with a rapid test at the border must still be done before Singapore travellers enter Malaysia.

However, Koh said Malaysia and Singapore were still not ready to open up their borders yet as the SOPs for travel have not been ironed out.

“Singapore is currently facing a surge in cases. This would be a concern as well and could delay the opening of borders,” he told FMT.

Koh also noted that quarantine would not be practical once borders reopen as many Malaysians working in Singapore would cross the border on a daily basis

He said Singaporean travellers would also need a check-in system for contact tracing purposes.

Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said once borders are opened, Malaysia would be seeing a much bigger crowd at tourist areas and shopping malls.

“Johor being a border city next to Singapore has always depended on Singapore visitors and shoppers,” he told FMT adding that it was time for tourist-related businesses to reopen gradually as there was certainly a need to start somewhere especially in such trying times.

According to foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysia and Singapore have been discussing the possibility of reopening their borders soon.

“I understand that the health minister had discussions recently with his Singapore counterpart via phone on a proposal to reopen the border between Singapore and Malaysia,” he told the Dewan Rakyat in his winding-up speech on the King’s address on Friday.

He hoped that this matter could be resolved soon because both countries need the border reopening adding that should the proposal be accepted by both governments, Putrajaya could explore the idea of reopening Malaysia’s borders with other countries, such as Thailand. – MALAYSIA NOW

by Samuel Chua

credit photo : AP

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