Cross-border travel arrangements hailed on both sides of the Causeway
Businesses on both sides of the Causeway welcomed the cross-border travel arrangements between Singapore and Malaysia, which will allow employers to travel for essential meetings and afford workers opportunities to see their families more often.
The arrangements will address the pressing travel needs of both countries, the Malaysia-Singapore Business Council said in a joint statement with the Singapore Business Federation. Applications for the Singapore-Malaysia travel arrangements opened yesterday.
The council, which promotes business and investment activities between both countries, met virtually last Thursday.
Its Singapore co-chairman Robert Yap said: "Singapore businesses welcome the bilateral cross-border travel arrangements as they allow us to travel to Malaysia for important meetings, and our employees can travel more easily between Malaysia and Singapore to see their families."
He noted that the council will offer feedback to the respective governments on how the arrangements can be improved to better serve the needs of businesses and employees.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 300,000 travellers used the Causeway every day. Among them were about 100,000 Malaysians who commuted daily between Singapore and Malaysia.
The resumption of cross-border travel will take place under two schemes: The reciprocal green lane for travellers on shorter visits, and the longer-term periodic commuting arrangement.
The reciprocal green lane facilitates travel for essential business or official purposes between both sides for up to 14 days.
The periodic commuting arrangement allows Singapore and Malaysia residents who hold long-term passes for business and work purpose in the other country to enter that country for work.
They have to remain in the destination country for at least 90 days before returning for home leave, and travellers under this arrangement can enter or exit only through the two land checkpoints - at Woodlands or Tuas.
Singapore-Malaysia business ties are significant for the region, said the council's Malaysian co-chairman Nik Norzrul Thani, adding that both sides have agreed to plan for a series of webinars for the business communities to exchange ideas on the digital economy and start-ups.
During the meeting, members also touched on initiatives such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project. The council highlighted that the private sector from both countries is keen to find out how it could be involved in the new plans for the project.