: Malaysia and Singapore are expected to reach a firm decision early next month on the reopening of its borders under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) categories, following fruitful discussions on the matter.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the RGL is to facilitate cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes between both countries while the PCA is to allow residents from both nations who hold long-term immigration passes (for business and work purposes) to periodically return to their home countries for short-term home leave.
"Through the discussions as well, Malaysia remains consistent on the importance of both nations reaching a consensus, particularly in terms of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and COVID-19 general health protocols.
"These are important to ensure the health and safety of citizens of both nations involved in the cross-border travel," he said in a statement issued by Wisma Putra here on Monday.
Also, both nations held discussions on cross-border travel for daily work commuters from both sides and the possible full opening of the borders, Hishammuddin said.
Meanwhile, Wisma Putra also stated that besides Singapore, the government's cross-border travel discussions with countries categorised as COVID-19 green zones, involving Brunei, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and South Korea, were ongoing.
The discissions were specifically with six green zone countries identified by the Health Ministry (MOH) as previously announced by Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The discussions also involved the conditional opening of borders, among others for important business matters, international students, and food supply within South-East Asian nations.
Final decisions will be only be made once there is approval at the Special Ministerial Meeting on the implementation of the Movement Control Order and by the Cabinet.
"Truthfully, the reopening of borders is not something easily done. It requires thorough and detailed preparations and good understanding between all nations involved.
"And that is why discussions are taking time. Once cross border travel is allowed, Wisma Putra will ensure that it is beneficial to both countries and at the same time also make sure it does not affect our COVID-19 fighting efforts," he said.
In another development, Wisma Putra has also welcomed the suggestion made through the MCO special ministerial meeting that the National COVID-19 Fund under the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) be expanded to include missions to repatriate Malaysians stuck abroad.