KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 8 — Malaysia and Singapore will launch a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from 29 Nov, 2021.
This was stated in a joint statement by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, issued after both leaders spoke over the phone on Monday.
Under the VTL, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel between Malaysia and Singapore, and be subjected to COVID-19 tests in lieu of serving quarantine or Stay-Home Notice (SHN).
Both prime ministers also looked forward to restoring travel across the land links as well in the near future.
They were happy to note the good progress in ongoing detailed discussions on a similar vaccinated travel scheme – to reopen travel across the Causeway and the Second Link – taking into account the public health situations in Johor and Singapore.
In the statement, Ismail Sabri said the VTLs are another important milestone in the longstanding Malaysia-Singapore cooperation.
The VTLs will allow travel as the two countries gradually reopen their borders responsibly by balancing the need to recover their economies while ensuring safety and health of their peoples from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Lee said; “I look forward to effective implementation of this travel scheme, adding to those we already have developed previously to facilitate movements of people and goods between Malaysia and Singapore”.
“I am very happy that both our countries are finally able to restart cross-border travel through the VTLs. This will help revive our economies, restore our people-to-people ties, and strengthen our bilateral relationship,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Multi-ministry Taskforce on COVID-19’s virtual press conference held in Singapore provided more details on the VTL between KLIA and Changi airport.
Transport Minister S Iswaran told reporters the VTL will commence with six daily designated services between the two airports.
For entry into Singapore, Iswaran said travellers will have to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or professionally administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) test result taken 48 hours prior to departure, and they will be subjected to an on-arrival PCR test.
Applications for the VTL with Malaysia will be open on Nov 22, said the minister, adding that the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will provide more details as the date nears.
“Pre-COVID, the Singapore Kuala Lumpur international air route was the busiest in the world, with about 40 flights daily and an average of 7,000 arrivals per day at Changi Airport,” said Iswaran.
The Taskforce has also updated its public health assessment and Malaysia will be in Category II from Nov 12, thus “this is timely and it sets the stage for us to establish a VTL scheme with Malaysia,” he said.
Iswaran said Singapore has currently allocated a daily quota of 4,000 travellers to cater to arrivals from the 13 countries where it has VTL arrangements so far.
The republic will increase the number to 6,000 when it launches the VTLs with three other countries, including Malaysia.
To a question whether other travel arrangements with Malaysia such as Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) will continue when VTL is in place, Iswaran said : “Basically the VTL is an arrangement on top of all the existing arrangements that we have.”
“It is really designed to facilitate the bilateral quarantine free travel regardless of the purpose of travel. So it is, in addition, to not in lieu of the existing arrangements that we have,” he said.