Datuk Saifuddin was assuring lawmakers within the Dewan Rakyat after several of them raised the plight of Malaysians who haven’t seen their families since borders closed because of the pandemic on March 18, 2020.
“I am aware that the problem isn’t just about Covid-19, but also about those who are separated from loved ones even before the start of the pandemic,” he said during his ministerial reply on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address on Thursday (Sept 23).
“I will try to see how we can overcome this together,” he added.
“I pray and hope that the matter is often resolved as soon as possible,” he added.
Mr. Choong said the Reciprocal Green Lane arrangement between the 2 countries was for Singaporeans who had subsidiary companies in Malaysia and didn’t benefit the thousands of Malaysian blue-collar workers in Singapore.
Mr. Saifuddin said that both countries had previously concluded a Periodic Commuting Arrangement scheme that allowed Malaysian workers or permanent residents to return to the country for brief visits.
Separately, Johor’s Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said Johor will be submitting its proposal to Putrajaya to open up the border with Singapore through the Daily Commuting Arrangement (DCA).
Datuk Hasni added that the matter was agreed upon during the state security special committee meeting held virtually on Thursday.
“We will send the proposed standard operating procedures (SOP) for opening the border under DCA to the Special Committee on Pandemic Management,” he said during a statement.
He added that the government was also working to boost the percentage of Covid-19 vaccinations in Johor by obtaining data on Johor employees who received their vaccination in Singapore in order that they will be immediately updated within the MySejahtera application.
Mr. Hasni also expressed his gratitude that Johor was entering phase two of the National Recovery Plan, but reminded everyone that the state must still increase vaccination rates to achieve its target of 90 percent of adults being vaccinated.
Mr. Hasni said the vaccination program for teenagers aged 12 to 18, which started on Monday, was running smoothly, but he hoped parents would take the matter seriously by giving their children permission to be vaccinated.
“In fact, when more tourist centers, theme parks, and resorts reopen, economic activity is going to be more vibrant and have a positive impact on the income of the people, the state, and also the country,” he noted.