Singapore & Malaysia Aim To Expand Land VTL To General Travellers From Mid-Dec
Singapore and Malaysia enjoy strong bilateral ties and before the pandemic, thousands would cross the Causeway daily for work and travel purposes.
Restarting land travel is a priority for both countries.
The land VTL between Singapore and Malaysia opened today (29 Nov), although it’s meant mainly for workers on both sides of the border at the moment.
During an official visit to Singapore, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that general travel for the land VTL is expected from mid-Dec.
Earlier today, they officially launched the land VTL with a fistbump.
General travel for land VTL expected from mid-Dec
Currently, the land VTL allows for 1,440 people on either side of the border to travel across through buses.
It will take some time to get near pre-Covid levels, but PM Lee said they will progress step by step and get it working.
Plans are underway, however, for the land VTL to support general travel as well, from mid-Dec.
This is dependent on the Covid-19 situation at the time.
Sea and air VTL being discussed
A sea VTL is also being discussed, which would allow Singapore cruise ships to call at Malaysian ports.
No date has been set for a sea VTL.
However, this should increase the viability of cruises, which are currently operating without port calls to other countries.
It’ll also help the ties between Singapore and Malaysia.
Officials will start to draw up work related to expanding air travel from Singapore to places like Penang, Kuching, Langkawi, and Kota Kinabalu, Mr Ismail said.
RTS Link construction ongoing
Mr Ismail and Mr Lee also discussed the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project, which should be ready by end-2026.
Construction on the RTS is underway.
Among other things being discussed, Singapore continues to support Iskandar Malaysia, PM Lee said.
Surprisingly, Mr Ismail has raised the possibility of reviving discussions on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR), which was terminated this year.
PM Lee said that although the HSR project was terminated, they continue to be open to fresh discussions.
“Nevertheless, Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project, and the two Ministries of Transport will discuss the matter, and Singapore looks forward to receiving more details from Malaysia.”
Reopening travel between Singapore and Malaysia
Since the pandemic began, many have either been stuck away from home or have been unable to travel to the other country.
But our strong ties mean that this situation cannot remain indefinite.
Thankfully, border travel may resume considering the current Covid-19 situation.
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Featured image adapted from Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook.