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Malaysia looking to fully reopen borders with Singapore in January: Report

SINGAPORE — Malaysia is looking at the possibility of fully reopening its international borders with Singapore in January next year, The Star newspaper reported on Friday (Sept 11).

Malaysia looking to fully reopen borders with Singapore in January: Report

People seen crossing the Causeway on Aug 17, 2020. Johor’s chief minister Hasni Mohammad said that his state government would “continue to push Putrajaya to open up the border with Singapore as soon as possible”.

SINGAPORE — Malaysia is looking at the possibility of fully reopening its international borders with Singapore in January next year, The Star newspaper reported on Friday (Sept 11).

The Malaysian daily quoted the country’s health minister Adham Baba as saying that the recovery movement control order (MCO) in place over the next four months “would be an important time for the country as it would determine if it was possible to reopen the border with Singapore fully”.

The Star’s report quoted Dr Adham as saying that during the country’s MCO period, a more systematic approach would be taken in areas such as border control, physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment.

“We cannot use a trial-and-error approach,” Dr Adham said, adding that it was important to consider the livelihoods of the people who had been affected by Covid-19.

“We must find a balance as both the economy and health are very important matters,” he said at an event to pay tribute to frontliners in Johor Baru.

He added that the Malaysian health ministry was looking at doubling the capacity for Covid-19 swab tests for travellers under the reciprocal green lane and periodic commuting arrangement schemes, The Star reported.

At the same event, Johor’s chief minister Hasni Mohammad said that his state government would “continue to push Putrajaya to open up the border with Singapore as soon as possible”.

Mr Hasni said that before the reciprocal green lane and periodic commuting arrangement, there was already movement between the two countries, “with Malaysia sending cargo containing medical and food supplies” to Singapore.

More than any other Malaysian states, Johor has been particularly affected by the lack of tourists from Singapore.

Singapore news channel CNA reported earlier this week that at least one hotel in Johor Baru frequented by travellers from Singapore has shuttered for good, while popular malls such as City Square near the immigration building have been deserted.

On Friday, Malaysia reported 182 new cases of Covid-19, the sharpest spike in more than three months. It now has a total of 9,810 confirmed coronavirus infections, including 128 deaths. AGENCIES

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