The Malaysian government has tentatively decided to grant Brunei citizens entry into Malaysia without mandatory COVID-19 screening and 14-day quarantine, said Malaysian Senior Minister for Security and Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob, Malaysian media reported.
The exemption from prior approval from the Immigration Department also covers Singaporean nationals. “However this is only limited to Singaporeans and Bruneians who are currently residing in their home countries,” the minister said during his thrice-weekly press conference yesterday.
The minister however added that permission for Bruneians and Singaporeans to enter Malaysia again is subject to the same permission granted by their countries to Malaysians, as well as further discussions between the foreign ministry and its counterparts in the two countries.
He also informed that the Malaysian Health Ministry is in the process of refining its list of “green-zone” countries in which individuals departing from those countries to Malaysia will not be required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. “Those coming into Malaysia from green-zone countries are nonetheless required to download the contact tracing MySejahtera app for monitoring. Travellers from non-green zone countries will still be required to undergo the mandatory quarantine period,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Singaporean government on June 15 said travellers entering Singapore from selected countries, including Brunei, may serve their stay-home notices at home, instead of government dedicated facilities from June 18.
But they will be subject to a compulsory COVID-19 test, for which they must pay, a few days before the end of their stay-home notices, Singaporean National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said during a press conference on Monday.
Last Sunday, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah at a press conference said Brunei is not looking at opening borders with neighbouring countries now as the country is not yet ready, and has not even begun negotiations with other countries on this matter.
He made the comments in response to a Sarawak newspaper report that cited an official calling for Sarawak and Brunei borders to be open and said that the Malaysian government was looking into the matter.
However, the minister said, “There has not been any official discussion with the government of Malaysia or the government of Sarawak… but even if we open our borders, this is a matter that will be taken very seriously.”
Border restrictions on all Brunei residents are still in place, prohibiting outbound travel, unless a prior approval is granted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) under special circumstances. Foreigners are also barred from entering Brunei, unless approved by the Brunei government.