S’pore-M’sia Land Border May Reopen In A Few Weeks & Bring Relief To Separated Families

S’pore & M’sia May Launch VTL-Like Arrangement Over Land: Minister Gan

Singapore has been busy opening Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) with many countries, but perhaps the most desired would be over land with our closest neighbour.

After all, before the pandemic, the Causeway was the busiest international land crossing in the world.

The dream of restoring it closer to its former glory may come true in a few weeks, if the land border opens under a VTL-like arrangement.


This will bring relief most of all to families who’ve been separated for many months.

Discussions with Malaysia progressing well

The good news was announced by Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong on Monday (15 Nov), during a Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) press conference.

In fact, Singapore and Malaysia are already discussing the reopening of the land border, affirmed Minister Gan, who’s co-chair of the MTF handling the pandemic.


These discussions are progressing well, he added, and more details will be shared when ready.

Land border reopening eagerly awaited

Minister Gan added this after a discussion on the VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which will start on 29 Nov.

While this is obviously a good thing, what many are eagerly awaiting would probably be the reopening of the Causeway and Second Link.

Restoring this cheaper mode of crossing the border will benefit:

  1. Malaysians working in Singapore who want to visit their families back home
  2. Singaporeans who want to resume their shopping and eating day trips in Johor Baru
  3. Johor businesses badly affected by the absence of visitors from Singapore


VTL-like arrangement being discussed

Thankfully, now that the VTL with KLIA is set to go ahead, both sides are now turning their attention to a similar scheme across the land border with JB.

This was mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook on 8 Nov.

On Monday (15 Nov), Minister Gan said a “VTL-like arrangement” was being discussed.

What exactly this would entail is still up in the air, but he hopes that it will be “launched in a few weeks’ time”.


Families have been separated for a long time

Meanwhile, Minister Gan spoke about the human cost of restrictions on cross-border travel brought about by Covid-19, acknowledging that,

Singapore and Malaysia share close ties on many fronts, especially among our people.

He also knows that many families have been separated for a long time.

Some star-crossed families have even taken to staging family “reunions” across the straits – a touching yet heartbreaking situation indeed.

Woodlands Park Is Now A Spot For Causeway ‘Reunions’, Families Advised To Bring Binoculars

Thus, the minister hopes the impending land border arrangement will help these reunions take place in person.

A matter closer to the heart

Most Singaporeans will be hoping to renew their acquaintance with the surviving shops and food outlets in JB.

However, for Malaysians who haven’t reconnected with their loved ones in more than 20 months, the land border’s reopening is a matter closer to the heart.

Let’s hope both sides can work out a suitable arrangement as soon as possible, for their sakes.

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Featured image adapted from Wikimedia Commons.

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