SINGAPORE: A cross-border travel scheme facilitating journeys between Malaysia and Singapore for compassionate causes reminiscent of demise and visits to family members who’re critically ill is about to kick off on May 17.
This was confirmed in a joint assertion on Sunday (May 2) by Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein, following the latter’s two-day official visit to Singapore.
The two ministers agreed throughout the go to to work in direction of the resumption of important cross-border travel in a gradual and secure method, the assertion stated.
“To this end, the two Ministers agreed on the procedures and entry requirements for death and critically ill emergency visits between Singapore and Malaysia. This agreement provides a framework to facilitate travel between the two countries for compassionate and emergency reasons,” each ministers stated.
“Details of the procedures and entry requirements will be released by the respective authorities of each country, namely the Department of Immigration of Malaysia and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA). The arrangement will be implemented from May 17 onwards,” they added.
Speaking at a media doorstop in Singapore on Sunday, Dr Balakrishnan stated that the scheme is “really needed because of the extensive ties of kinship between Malaysia and Singapore”.
“Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, and when family crisis occurs, people want to get together, and therefore, bearing in mind this very special close relationship between the people of Singapore and the people of Malaysia, it is necessary to have schemes like this,” stated Dr Balakrishnan.
“We announce further details on the types of tests and quarantine arrangements that will be necessary in order to operationalise this scheme,” he added.
PM MUHYIDDIN’S VISIT TO SINGAPORE POSTPONED: HISHAMMUDDIN
Mr Hishammuddin, who was talking on the identical doorstop, highlighted that preliminary plans for Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to undertake an official go to to Singapore on Monday have been postponed.
He outlined two causes for this – that Mr Muhyiddin’s present focus is on addressing the rising COVID-19 instances in Malaysia and that given the current scenario, it was not the “right environment” for each Muhyiddin and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to talk about resumption of cross-border travel on a bigger scale.
“A lot of the discussions between the two Prime Ministers, we were hoping, Vivian and I, will revolve around the gradual resumption of cross-border travel and the ease of movement between our citizens,” stated Mr Hishammuddin.
“And our hope was that it could have been decided at the very highest levels between the two Prime Ministers during my Prime Minister’s official visit tomorrow. But bearing in mind the current COVID-19 situation, it doesn’t provide the right environment for both Prime Ministers to discuss that particular matter,” he added.
“And we have to stress that it is very challenging for both sides to come up with a concrete and safe solution on cross-border movements at the moment, and also to frame what we could announce to the public. So we both felt that it would be much more opportune for the two Prime Ministers to meet slightly at a later date, a more appropriate time, when we can announce this very important and much-awaited decision by both countries,” stated Mr Hishammuddin.
READ: Singapore, Malaysia to work towards recognising COVID-19 vaccine certificates, ‘progressively restore’ cross-border travel
BOTH GOVERNMENTS WORKING ON MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF HEALTH CERTS
Meanwhile, Dr Balakrishnan maintained that each governments are engaged on the mutual recognition of well being certificates, with respect to vaccination and COVID-19 polymerase chain response (PCR) take a look at data.
“That’s well under way at a technical level, and again all this is preparation for the future, when the situation improves in both Malaysia and Singapore and travel can liberalise further than where it is now,” stated Dr Balakrishnan.
Mr Hishammuddin additionally famous that each side mentioned the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates digitally by the respective international locations’ COVID-19 functions – HintTogether and MySejahtera.
“Mutual recognition of vaccination certificates … and MySejahtera, TraceTogether need to be compatible, and we hope that by the time the two Prime Ministers meet, whether at the end of the year during their informal meeting or maybe if time or situation permits, earlier, for Tan Sri Muhyiddin to be able to make an official visit to Singapore,” stated Mr Hishammuddin.
In the joint assertion, the ministers stated they welcomed the settlement reached by the Singapore Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation “on the mutual technical verification of health certificates issued in Singapore and Malaysia”.
They additionally agreed that Singapore and Malaysia would proceed to make progress on their respective nationwide vaccination programmes to vaccinate long-term residents, together with Malaysians residing in Singapore and Singaporeans residing in Malaysia.
“The two Ministers agreed to continue discussions on further border re-opening measures, which should be premised on the COVID-19 situation in both countries, and the health and safety of both peoples,” the assertion added.
The ministers additionally agreed on the significance of convening the tenth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in Singapore “later this year, once the pandemic situation improves”, in accordance to the assertion.
During Mr Hishamuddin’s go to, the pair additionally mentioned, following the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta on Apr 24, the current developments in Myanmar and agreed that it was essential for ASEAN and its member states to “continue playing a positive and constructive role” in facilitating a sturdy and peaceable answer within the curiosity of the individuals of Myanmar by following up on the chairman’s assertion and the “Five-Point Consensus”.