Malaysia still in discussion with Brunei, Singapore over border re-opening

Azlan Othman

Malaysia is still in early discussions with Singapore and Brunei Darussalam on the possibility of reopening its borders with the two countries.

“So far, it is still in the early stages, and currently the discussion does not only involve the Ministry of Health (MoH), but also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and others.

“The team from the government has already discussed it, but an agreement has yet to be reached,” Malaysia Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said to Malaysian media on Monday during his press conference on the latest developments with regard to COVID-19.

He said the implementation of a standard operating procedure (SOP) agreed by both parties, as well as cooperation with the countries involved are crucial.

Dr Noor Hisham said if everything goes well, the re-opening of the countries borders could be implemented either during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), or after it ends on August 31.

Last week, it was reported the government was in the midst of discussing opening its borders with Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

“There is no solid agreement between any of these countries involved (since) such discussions are still in the early stages, and the arrangements (with any country) must be mutual and reciprocal.”

Asked on how the MoH classified a country as a green zone, Dr Noor Hisham said it was based on a number of indicators such as the number of local COVID-19 transmissions and imported cases, on whether it involved local or foreign nationals, the trend of infections over a certain period and the policies adopted by those countries in controlling the pandemic.

A ground crew checks in a passenger at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang. PHOTO: BERNAMA