KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed hope that Singapore and Malaysia would soon finalise arrangements for daily commuting of workers between both countries, as border restrictions begin to ease amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Facebook post on Thursday evening (Sep 3) after meeting Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon, Mr Muhyiddin said they discussed the implementation of the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) at the Singapore-Malaysia border, which commenced from Aug 17.
He said both of them agreed that the implementation of the two schemes has been done smoothly and effectively.
"I hope Malaysia and Singapore would quickly finalise the standard operating procedures regarding the proposal to allow for daily commuting of workers between both countries, to boost the national economy and help impacted workers," the prime minister added.
The PCA allows Singapore and Malaysia citizens or permanent residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to enter that country for work.
Meanwhile the RGL is for Malaysia and Singapore residents keen to do shorter-term travel of up to 14 days, for essential business and official purposes.
"We also reaffirmed the commitment to ensure movement of many people across our borders will continue to be done smoothly without ignoring the safety of both countries," wrote the Malaysian leader.
"We are determined this will help both Malaysia and Singapore recover our respective economies and ... gradually help citizens impacted by the pandemic."
Mr Muhyiddin also said that the discussion with Mr Menon touched on efforts by the two countries to strengthen and forge bilateral ties, by exploring new areas they can collaborate in, such as science, technology and innovation.
"We are aware that the bilateral ties for Malaysia-Singapore has to prosper although both countries are going through a challenging period, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," said Mr Muhyiddin.
"We believe that Malaysia and Singapore have the experience, ability and expertise to overcome the long term threat of the pandemic," he added.
To this end, he stressed that both countries must step up their working ties and collaborate to "prevent, curb and control the spread of COVID-19".
As member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, he said both should work together in the research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine, in the field of epidemiology, antiviral medication and a public health system which would "finally benefit both countries".
READ: FAQ - How can workers travel between Singapore and Malaysia and what are the COVID-19 protocols in place?
In his Facebook post, Mr Muhyiddin also touched on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.
"With regards to the HSR project, I hope that discussions at ministerial level involving both countries can be conducted in the near future to discuss the direction of the project," he wrote .
In May, both countries said they have reached an agreement to defer the project until the end of the year.
On the Singapore-Malaysia leaders' retreat to be held this year, Mr Muhyiddin noted that it was Singapore's turn to host the event. He urged officials from both countries to discuss and suggest suitable arrangements on how to hold the retreat.
In July, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that both sides will "find some way" to hold the Singapore-Malaysia leaders' retreat this year.
He was speaking after a ceremony at the Causeway to mark the official resumption of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project.