Singapore and Malaysia should discuss mutual recognition of vaccination certification

Johor State Exco Mohd Izhar Ahmad was reported today as saying that the Malaysia and Singapore governments are discussing special arrangements to allow Malaysian workers in Singapore who have been vaccinated there to be given a special green lane pass.

It is encouraging to see progress to have Malaysians return home to see their families after more than a year being apart. However, it is unclear whether vaccinations done in Malaysia will be recognised for the purposes of this proposed green lane pass.

Will Malaysians who have been vaccinated in Malaysia be allowed to travel to Singapore to resume their work? How different is this “green lane” arrangement from the previous Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) arrangement?

RGL was introduced on 17 Aug 2020 to facilitate important business and official travel, it allowed a certain category of eligible travellers to be exempted from quarantine subject to conditions including producing negative Covid-19 test results.

Unfortunately, on 1 February this year Singapore announced a three month suspension on the RGL arrangement after Malaysia recorded a record high of 5,725 Covid-19 cases on 29 January.

The Malaysia-Singapore Causeway is one of the busiest borders in the world, with an estimated 400,000 daily crossings. Border restrictions have severely impacted Johor’s economy, local businesses and many workers who cross the border to work in Singapore.

Efforts to work towards safe cross-border travel have been jeopardised by the flip-flopping Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and inconsistency of enforcement by the Malaysian government.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is due for an official visit to Singapore on 3rd and 4th May where he is expected to discuss issues related to the border checkpoint reopening with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.

Malaysians especially Johoreans are eager to see a more concrete roadmap towards border reopening. I hope that the two PMs will also discuss mutually-recognising vaccination certificates. To speed up the vaccination rate (which is one of the pre-conditions for full border reopening), we should have a clear target date and vaccination levels to work toward.

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