In addition to gulping down cups of bubble tea and purchasing discounted items, going across the border for cheap shopping and tasty meals was Singaporeans’ favourite pastime.
The coronavirus has snatched travel away from us like a swooping eagle, and all we can do now is look at old photos of our previous vacations with longing.
There are signs that things are returning to normal, though.
For one, the number of Covid-19 cases is dwindling. Social visits are now allowed and cinemas will soon resume operations.
The country has also resumed essential business and official travel with China under a “fast-lane” agreement.
So, when is it Malaysia’s turn? Soon.
Plans to Reopen SG-MY Border Are Expected to be Announced Early Next Month
The reopening of borders between Malaysia and Singapore is expected to be announced early next month, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said on Monday (6 July).
Discussions between the two countries have led to the proposal of four travelling categories.
The first, Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), is for essential business and official matters. Unfortunately, buying a banana cake from Hiap Joo Bakery doesn’t come under this category.
The second category, Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA), is meant for long-term immigration pass-holders from both countries to return to their homes for a short period of time.
Under the third category, citizens from both countries will be allowed to commute daily, and the last category is for a full border reopening.
Hishammuddin said he was “delighted to announce that negotiations for the first two categories went positively and the decision in regards to it is expected to be jointly announced by the Malaysian and Singaporean government early next month.”
This likely means that when the borders are first reopened, you won’t be allowed to travel to Malaysia unless it’s for essential business or official travel
Still, it’s good that the border is opening up at all, right?
Singaporeans Still Told to Defer All Travel Abroad
According to The Jakarta Post, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has rejected the Indonesian government’s request to reopen its borders to Bintan and Batam in Riau Islands.
The two tourist areas have been closed for months due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Balakrishnan said he would review the Indonesian government’s request after the country’s general election on 10 July.
He also reiterated the government’s advice to residents in Singapore to defer all travel abroad.
So, when will we be able to fly to foreign lands once again? No one can say for sure.
But given how devastating it is for Singapore’s economy – tourism brought in S$27.7 billion last year in revenue – it shouldn’t be too long before citizens can travel again.
Let’s just hope that we keep the coronavirus outbreak under control until then.
That means adhering to safe distancing rules at all times, especially while playing badminton.