World

Leaders of Malaysia, Singapore to discuss reopening of border

Issue to be part of agenda at meeting between M'sian PM Muhyiddin Yassin and PM Lee Hsien Loong

JOHOR BARU: The reopening of the border between Singapore and Malaysia will be among the topics the leaders from both countries will discuss when they meet, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

"Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be making an official visit to Singapore to meet his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on May 4," he told reporters after attending an event in Johor on Monday.

Mr Hishammuddin said that among the topics to be discussed at the leaders' retreat in Singapore is the reopening of the Malaysia-Singapore border.

Although the Johor government is keen to reopen the border within the next two months, Malaysia must get Singapore's approval first, he said. Malaysia shut its international borders in March last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

"The discussion process is still ongoing. Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan recently visited our country and we briefly discussed the matter.

"I will make sure that this is on the agenda to be discussed between Muhyiddin and Lee," Mr Hishammuddin said.

During Dr Balakrishnan's Malaysia visit late last month, Mr Muhyiddin said the minister extended a letter from PM Lee inviting him to attend the 10th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Leaders' Retreat.

VACCINE CERTIFICATES

During his Malaysian visit, Dr Balakrishnan met Mr Hishammuddin and the two countries agreed to work towards recognising each other's vaccine certificates to facilitate cross-border travel.

They also agreed to progressively restore cross-border travel for other groups of travellers, in addition to the existing Reciprocal Green Lane and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement.

Malaysia reported 12 Covid-19 deaths yesterday, the highest in a single day in two months, as new cases hit a record high in eastern Sarawak state.

The country recorded 1,767 new cases to take the total to 363,940, the Health Ministry said.

The 12 fatalities brought the death toll nationwide to 1,345, and was the highest fatality toll in a single day since Feb 27.

The Health Ministry's director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said Sarawak topped the list with 607 new infections reported, the most reported in a single day in Malaysia's largest state.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin said 80 per cent of Malaysians will have received their Covid-19 vaccinations by year's end.

He said that from June, vaccine supply will begin to outstrip the number of registrations for inoculation.

By October, Malaysia will have enough vaccines for 80 per cent of the population, he said, to allay concerns of those waiting to be vaccinated. - THE STAR

WORLD