Cross-border travel goes on smoothly

The Singapore Immigrations and Customs checkpoint at Tuas Second Link, as seen from Johor,

SINGAPORE – At about 10 am today, many Malaysians began to converge at the Singapore land entry gate on the first day of implementation of the cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes.

“The business of departure in Johor and entry to Singapore went smoothly,” said a woman who wished to be known only as ‘Hidayah’, who was queueing up to wait for a bus arranged by her employer, when approached by Bernama.

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Working in the manufacturing sector in Kallang, she and about 20 colleagues had gathered outside the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex as early as 6 am.

As soon as the departure process was completed at the Sultan Iskandar Building Complex which started its operation at 7 am today, they began crossing the Johor Causeway for about one kilometre on foot.

“We took about one and a half hour to cross. We have to take a few stops along the way because we were laden with some baggage,” said the 28-year-old woman.

A check by Bernama found that the pick-up zone outside of the Woodlands Checkpoint was busy as several buses and taxis arranged by employers took turns to collect passengers.

Hidayah said she and her colleagues were fortunate as their employer still wanted them to return to work in the republic although they had been in Malaysia since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented on March 18.

“I used to commute every day. But on March 18, some of my friends and I couldn’t enter Singapore in time,” said the mother of a 15-month old baby who hailed from Tampoi, Johor.

For the sake of survival amid the weak global economic conditions, Hidayah and her friends were determined to be in Singapore for 90 days as stated under the rules of the PCA scheme.

“My family understands my decision and entreated me to take care of myself and my health,” she said, adding that their accommodation was provided by their employer.

The RGL and PCA schemes are meant to address the needs of different groups of cross-border travellers between Malaysia and Singapore.

The RGL enables short-term cross-border travel for essential businesses and official purposes between both countries, up to a maximum of 14 days’ stay.

The PCA, meanwhile, allows Singapore and Malaysia residents, who hold valid work passes in the other country, to enter that country for work.

Travellers to Singapore under the PCA scheme are expected to serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and undergo a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction test before the SHN period ends.

After at least 90 days in their country of employment, they may return to their home country for a short-term home leave and thereafter may re-enter their country of employment to continue work for at least another 90 days.

— BERNAMA