Ever since 18 March 2020, many of us have been wondering: When would we finally be able to complain about the causeway jam again?
Well, continue to wait, because while a Vaccinated Travel Lane is now confirmed for both countries, this is only for air travel between two specific airports, and last I know, there isn’t any flight that goes from Changi Airport to Senai International Airport (airport in Johor Bahru that some of us take to avoid the high cost of flying from Changi Airport).
But if you’ve been waiting to some KL food, here’s the good news.
Confirmed: Vaccinated Travel Lane Between S’pore & M’sia Will Start from 29 Nov
Unlike other VTLs that are announced by the Transport Minister, this news came from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
And unlike other VTLs that involved transport chiefs from both countries, this lane appeared to be brokered by two heads of state instead.
Apparently, PM Lee and Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had spoken on the phone today, and chances are this conversation happened:
PM Lee: Our nasi lemak is better!
PM Ismail: No, ours is better! You don’t believe you come and try lah!
PM Lee: But now borders still close leh
PM Ismail: Open lah, you all always got the VTL thingy
PM Lee: You think I scare? Okay, open then open lah! You better prepare your best nasi lemak!
I didn’t know heads of state use Singlish and Manglish to communicate, but according to the official statement coming from PMO, it is actually because they “recognised that COVID-19 has disrupted people to people connections between the two countries, and separated families for many months.
“Given the significant progress that both countries have made in vaccinating their respective populations and managing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Ministers agreed that it is timely to progressively resume cross-border travel between both countries, in a safe manner.”
However, the VTL would just be between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and it’ll start from 29 November 2021.
Under the VTL, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel between Singapore and Malaysia, and be subjected to COVID-19 tests in lieu of serving quarantine or Stay-Home Notice.
PM Ismail said, “This opening of borders will allow us to answer the question that we’ve been asking ourselves for years: Is Singapore’s nasi lemak better, or Malaysia’s one better?”
Okay, maybe he didn’t say that. Instead, he said, “The VTLs are another important milestone in the longstanding Malaysia-Singapore cooperation. The VTLs will allow travel as our two countries gradually reopen our borders responsibly by balancing the need to recover our economies while ensuring safety and health of our peoples from COVID-19. I look forward to effective implementation of this travel scheme, adding to those we already have developed previously to facilitate movements of people and goods between Malaysia and Singapore.”
As for PM Lee, you can read what he said on his Facebook post:
Yes, when there are over 1,000 shares in less than 30 minutes, you should know how much we Singaporeans miss Malaysia.
But here’s the burning question:
How About the Land Travel?
If the causeway remains closed, maggots would soon be eating up the bridge.
Well, it’s in the pipeline but it’s unknown when we’d see more J-plate cars in Singapore.
They said that they are looking forward to restoring travel across the land links between both countries in the near future, and were happy to note the good progress in ongoing detailed discussions on a similar vaccinated travel scheme, to reopen travel across the Causeway and the Second Link, taking into account the public health situations in Johor and Singapore.
In Malaysia, as of 4 November 2021, 76.1% of their population has been fully vaccinated.
Over in Johor, 77% are fully vaccinated.
In other words, like what the Thais would say about Singaporeans and Malaysians…same same but different.
In the meantime, be prepared to see a record price for a flight to KL.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Lee Hsien Loong)