Many of us have been complaining about our inability to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And according to a survey done last year, it seems to be taking an emotional toll on some people.
There’s one thing we’re all forgetting here, though: most of us want to travel for leisure. We want to immerse ourselves into another’s culture, eat good food, and visit beautiful places.
But there are people out there who’ve wished to travel to see their loved ones who are critically ill or those who have already passed away, especially from COVID-19, but were unable to do so.
Well, not anymore.
SG-MY Travel on Compassionate Grounds to Begin From 17 May
Singapore and Malaysia residents will be able to cross the border on compassionate grounds from 17 May, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Sunday (2 May).
Dr Balakrishnan made the announcement with with his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Mr Hishammuddin was in Singapore on a two-day official visit.
Under this arrangement, those travelling to the other country to visit those who are critically ill or to attend funerals will be allowed to do so.
Tests and quarantines will likely be necessary, but details of such measures will only be released by the respective authorities of each country later on.
As for why both countries have decided to allow this, Dr Balakrishnan said it was because of the special relationship and “extensive ties” that Singapore and Malaysia share.
“When a family crisis occurs, people want to get together. And therefore, bearing in mind this very special close relationship between the people of Singapore and the people of Malaysia, it is necessary to have schemes like this,” he said.
Air Travel Bubble in the Works?
Mention the words “air travel bubble” around a Singaporean and they’ll collapse to the floor, curl into the fetal position, and start sobbing.
That’s because we’ve been promised air travel bubbles in the past, only for them to be taken away at the last moment.
But both Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Hishammuddin discussed the possibility of an air travel bubble between Singapore and Malaysia, with further negotiations with the transport ministries of both countries needed to proceed.
Residents Only Allowed to Travel Under PCA Arrangement
At the moment, residents of both countries can only cross the border under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA).
Under this arrangement, travellers must remain in their country of employment for at least 90 days before returning to their home country for short-term home leave.
It allows residents of both countries who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to enter that country for work.
Those entering Singapore must also serve a 14-day stay-home notice.
The other arrangement, the Reciprocal Green Lane, has been suspended since February. Under it, short-term travel for up to 14 days for essential business or official purposes was permitted.
Feature Image: Patrick Foto / Shutterstock.com