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About 1,440 travellers expected to use land VTL in first week — Johor MB

ISKANDAR PUTERI (Nov 21): The state government expects about 1,440 travellers to use the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) via the Johor Causeway and the Second Link in the first week of its implementation.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said based on discussions between the Malaysian and Singaporean governments, the number of people using the lane is expected to rise to 2,500 in the second week and 5,000 the following week.

As such, he hopes that the opening of the land VTL, which is scheduled to run simultaneously with the air VTL on Nov 29, will not be delayed.

"Based on the capacity and initial preparations to open the border, in the first week the number of inbound and outbound travellers will reach 1,440.

"Whether these people will be using public transport or allowed to use private vehicles... this is being finalised," he said at the second meeting of the Fourth Session of the 14th Johor State Legislative Assembly, here, on Sunday.

Whatever the decision will be, he said, Johor is ready with all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and has developed a system that could help the federal government in the land VTL implementation.

"We have the Johor Travel Safe system that had assisted the federal government when the Periodic Commuting Arrangement  and the Reciprocal Green Lane were implemented," he said.

On the categories of travellers allowed, Hasni said he (UMNO-Benut) hopes that those allowed to use land VTL are also allowed to use air VTL.

To ensure that the SOPs and screening procedures run smoothly, a pilot test on the land VTL will be conducted on Monday, he added.

He said this in reply to supplementary questions from Jimmy Puah Wee Tse (PH-Bukit Batu), Andrew Chen Kah Eng (PH-Stulang), and Liow Cai Tung (PH-Johor Jaya), who wanted to know about the implementation of the land VTL, SOPs, categories, and number of travelers allowed.

Earlier, Hasni said the state government together with the Ministry of Health were preparing to enhance the land VTL SOPs, especially those regarding the screening procedures for travellers entering and exiting the border between the two countries.

In principle, the state government welcomes this land VTL initiative as it is a progressive step towards the safe reopening of the country's international borders.

"This is an important milestone for cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore, and is able to revive the economies of both countries, especially Johor," he said.

According to Hasni, on Sept 27, the Johor government presented the latest SOP proposal for the purpose of commuting between Malaysia and Singapore in the Pandemic Management Technical Working Committee Meeting No 37/2021.

"Malaysia and Singapore have already agreed to the gradual and systematic opening of the border to enable cross-border activities to be carried out in the safest possible way.

"In addition, various issues must be given emphasis including the recognition of vaccination certificates between the two countries, the current capacity of the Johor Causeway and the Second Link, permission to access vaccination status information by Malaysia and Singapore, quarantine-free travel, and compliance with health SOPs," he said.

Hasni was replying to oral questions from Puah, Chen, Liow, Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kota Iskandar), and Dr S Ramakrishnan (PH-Bekok) on the reopening of the Malaysia-Singapore border through the Johor Causeway and the Second Link and the land VTL implementation.

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