Vaccines are out but borders should stay shut

With COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out across the world, there is a glimmer of hope that the pandemic will soon be a thing of the past. However, I believe that we still need to exercise vigilance regarding the spread of the virus that has nearly brought the world to its knees.

Malaysia has been expressing interest in forming a reciprocal green lane with Brunei Darussalam, as reported by the Malaysian media a few days ago. I don’t think a green bubble with our neighbouring country is a good idea.

I’d love for our borders to remain tightly shut for a while longer, at least until more people around the world have been vaccinated. But when an announcement was made that we would have a green lane with Singapore, it made sense. Singapore has largely got the epidemic under control; we basically share similar stringent measures in stemming the tide of the coronavirus.

I don’t want to diminish Malaysian efforts in controlling the spread. But it is a much bigger country. As a result, it is harder to control the movement of people – even within the country. More importantly, a number of our recent imported cases have gone through Malaysia. While I believe its authorities are doing everything they can to contain COVID-19, it is a riskier move to allow a freer movement of travellers between Brunei and Malaysia. For the time being.

So I hope the authorities would remain steadfast in their stance regarding cross-border travelling between the two countries. With the vaccines being distributed around the world, it is a matter of time before we Bruneians are able to visit the neighbouring Malaysian towns and cities again.

Cautious Citizen