JAKARTA (CNA) – Indonesia and Malaysia will start planning for a travel corridor amid COVID-19, said the foreign ministers of both countries during a joint press conference yesterday.
In a virtual press briefing, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi noted that from January to August this year, the trade value between both countries was USD13 billion.
This is an increase of 44 per cent compared to the same period last year when it was USD9 billion.
“To maintain this momentum and accelerate the economic recovery of the two countries, we view it as important to facilitate the safe mobility of business people. For this reason, we have agreed to push for a Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) agreement for essential business people from both countries and we will discuss this as one of the preparations for the visit of the Malaysian Prime Minister,” said Marsudi.
She added that it will complement the implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (ATCAF) which would soon be implemented.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah is on a four-day official visit to Jakarta, his first visit to the Indonesian capital after being reappointed as foreign minister on August 30.
On his part, Saifuddin said during the press conference that thorough planning is needed before opening the travel lane.
“I suggested that there may be several phases. Perhaps phase one, phase two, and this depends on the sectors or things that should come first. The next one is the less important one, but maybe in the second phase,” he said.
Saifuddin said that for example, official visits should be prioritised. Another alternative, he suggested, is to facilitate travelling only between certain points, while opening up gradually.
Saifuddin also said that both sides could consider measures such as a reciprocal green lane, travel corridor arrangement and a vaccinated travel lane. The details would follow later.