Singapore and Malaysia will launch a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Nov 29.
This would allow fully vaccinated travellers to travel between Singapore and Malaysia, and be subjected to Covid-19 tests in lieu of serving quarantine or Stay-Home Notice.
This was announced in a joint press statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The statement says the prime ministers recognised that the pandemic has disrupted people-to-people connections between the two countries and separated families for many months.
“Given the significant progress that both countries have made in vaccinating their respective populations and managing the COVID-19 pandemic, the prime ministers agreed that it is timely to progressively resume cross-border travel between both countries, in a safe manner,” it adds.
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The statement also says the prime ministers look forward to restoring travel across the land links between both countries in the near future, noting that there is a “good progress” in ongoing discussions for a similar scheme for land transport between the two countries.
“Singapore and Malaysia enjoy deep, warm and multi-faceted relations. I am very happy that both our countries are finally able to restart cross-border travel through the VTLs. This will help revive our economies, restore our people-to-people ties, and strengthen our bilateral relationship,” says Lee.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri says the VTLs are another important milestone in the longstanding Malaysia-Singapore cooperation. “I look forward to effective implementation of this travel scheme, adding to those we already have developed previously to facilitate movements of people and goods between Malaysia and Singapore”, he adds.
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In his opening remarks, Minister for Transport S Iswaran says Malaysia will be in Category II of the Health Ministry's Covid-19 risk assessment framework for border measures from Nov 12. “This is timely and it sets the stage for us to establish a VTL scheme with Malaysia,” he says.
He notes that before the pandemic, the international air route between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was the busiest in the world, with about 40 flights daily and an average of 7,000 arrivals per day at the Changi Airport.
Applications for the VTL with Malaysia will be open on Nov 22. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will provide more details nearer the date.
For entry into Singapore, travellers from Malaysia will be required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or professionally administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) result taken 48 hours prior to departure. They will also be subjected to an on-arrival PCR test.
Meanwhile, Iswaran says the VTLs will also be extended to Finland and Sweden from Nov 29. Similar to the VTL with Malaysia, the application for Finland and Sweden will be open from Nov 22.
Singapore has previously extended its VTL scheme with 13 countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and the US.
As at Nov 7, close to 18,000 travellers have entered Singapore via the VTLs. From Nov 29, up to 6,000 travellers may enter Singapore daily through the various VTLs, up from the 4,000 currently allowed.
Photo: Albert Chua/ The Edge Singapore