KUALA LUMPUR (June 22): Malaysia’s borders may reopen as early as during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), which is slated to expire on Aug 31, said the Health Ministry’s director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

During his daily Covid-19 press briefing today, he said discussions with six countries identified as “green zones” that Malaysia may open its borders to are in the preliminary stages.

"What we are doing now is to start the discussion process. The RMCO (Recovery Movement Control Order) will end on Aug 31. So maybe the implementation of the opening of borders will be carried out either during the RMCO, or even after the RMCO," Noor Hisham added.

The six countries are Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. He added that any agreement between the countries must be “mutual and reciprocal”.

So far, Malaysia has yet to achieve an agreement with the six "green zone" countries to open up its borders, he said.

"At this stage, we are only having discussions first [with the six countries]. We [have] also [identified] a few more other countries but we hope we can reach an agreement with Singapore and Brunei [soon].

"The cooperation between countries is important, now that the discussions do not only involve the ministry of health, but also the foreign ministry and other [agencies].

"So, government forces have already discussed [about opening up borders] but we have not reached a consensus yet," Noor Hisham said.

Last Friday, Noor Hisham said Malaysia has begun discussions with the six "green zone" countries that it would like to open its borders to.

It was reported that the respective governments were to discuss and finalise the standard operating procedures (SOP) required between the countries which include the need for travellers to quarantine upon arrival.

Once governments on both sides are agreeable, then Malaysia could allow business, education and tourism sectors to be opened between the countries.

When asked today who determined these "green zone" countries, Noor Hisham said the MoH itself will monitor the rate and trends of Covid-19 cases in these countries.

"We will look at the trend of cases in those countries, and we will look at their policies, whether they are in line with our policies. If our policies are aligned, then we can reach an agreement," he explained.

"And we are looking at other countries too, not just these six countries," he added.

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