Malaysia-Singapore Land Border Reopens: Implications for Businesses

Posted by Written by Nguyen Minh Hanh Reading Time: 4 minutes

Implications for Singapore Businesses as Land Border with Malaysia Reopens

The reopening of the land border between Singapore and Malaysia is one of many signs that countries in ASEAN are transitioning to a new normal. Under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF), the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Taus Second Link bridge are open for vaccinated travelers without the need for compulsory testing or quarantine measures. The border relaxations hope to free up supply chain blockages between Singapore and Malaysia due to the pandemic.

The Johor-Singapore Causeway is one of the world’s busiest border crossings, catering to over 350,000 travelers daily before the pandemic struck. The vast majority of these travelers are Malaysian citizens working in Singapore.

 

What should businesses note about the reopening of the Singapore – Malaysia land border?

Entering Singapore

Full vaccination requirements

Fully vaccinated travelers and non-fully vaccinated children below twelve years old are allowed to enter Singapore from Malaysia via land.

Full vaccination requirements include acceptable proof of WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) vaccination, which has met the minimum dose interval before their arrival in Singapore, as seen in the following table.

Vaccination Requirements for Entry to Singapore

Manufacturer

Vaccine

Dose(s) required

Minimal interval between doses

Pfizer/BioNTech             

BNT162b2/COMIRNATY

Tozinameran (INN)

2

17 days

Moderna

mRNA-1273 / Spikevax           

2

24 days

AstraZeneca

AZD1222-Vaxzeveria (ChAdOx1_nCoV-19) 

2

24 days

Serum Institute of India             

Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV-19)        

2

Janssen

Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV-19)        

1

N/A

Sinopharm

SARS-COV-2 Vaccine (VeroCell), Inactivated (InCoV)            

2

17 days

Sinovac

COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated/CoronavacTM     

2

13 days

Covaxin

Bharat Biotech BBV152 COVAXIN®   

2

24 days

Novavax

NVX-CoV2373/Covovax/Nuvaxovid             

2

17 days

Any of the above WHO EUL vaccines (mixed):             

2

Source: safetravel.ica.gov.sg

COVID-19 testing

A COVID-19 test is not required for travelers entering Singapore via land and after April 26, 2022, fully vaccinated travelers will not be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before entering Singapore.

Travelers that are not fully vaccinated must take a COVID-19 test at least two days before departure for Singapore. This can either be a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. Further, they must undergo at least seven days of quarantine at their declared place of accommodation.

Travel insurance

Long-term pass holders and short-term visitors must obtain health insurance worth at least S$30,000 (US$22,095) and that covers COVID-19 related medical expenses.

Completion of the SG Arrival Card

Travelers entering Singapore need to fill in the online health declaration through the SG Arrival Card where the traveler can upload their digitally verifiable vaccination certificate.

Installation of the TraceTogether app

Travelers must install the TraceTogether contact tracing app on their phones.

Vehicle requirements

All categories of travelers, not limited to citizens, long-term pass holders, and permanent residents, are allowed to use all modes of public and private transport to travel across the Singapore-Malaysia Johor Causeway and Taus Second Link bridge. Unlike the previous vaccinated travel lane (VTL), the new VTF scheme stipulates that there will be no restrictions on the number of daily cross-border travelers. Travelers can exceed the 4,000 counts a day on either designated public buses or personal cars and motorbikes. Although the VTL bus tickets continue to be valid, the authorities of Singapore and Malaysia are cooperating closely to replace VTL buses with cross-border bus services, such as services 160, 170, and 950.

For Malaysian private vehicles, there are additional required documents for entry into Singapore:

  • Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s approved email; and
  • A valid Autopass Card, also known as Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) to monitor payments for entry and exit fees. The permit is valid for 14 days, and due to the expected congestion after the border reopening, the approval process would take at least 2 weeks. Application for VEP can only be received from LTA’s website.

Entering Malaysia

Full vaccination requirements

Fully vaccinated travelers from Singapore taking the land route can enter Malaysia without the need for quarantine.

The travelers must have completed a full regimen of a COVID-19 vaccine recognized by the WHO. Currently, this means 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or 14 days after a one-dose vaccine.

Unvaccinated travelers are allowed to enter Malaysia but are subject to five days of quarantine. They also need to take a COVID-19 test before departure, within 24 hours of arrival, and finally on day four of their quarantine.

COVID-19 testing

The eligible travelers taking the Johor-Singapore causeway will not need to undertake a COVID-19 test and children under the age of 12 will qualify for quarantine-free travel.

Travel insurance

Short-term visitors are obligated to purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of US$20,000 for COVID-19 related medical treatment.       

Installation of the MySejahtera application

Travelers need to download the MySejahtera contact tracing app on their mobile phones.

Crucial cross-border economic links revitalized

Increase flow of workers

The transition from a careful and calibrated to a full land border opening has already seen a surge in job applications from Malaysian workers to Singaporean firms as well as returning workers, easing labor tensions in Singapore. The number of immigrants and overland workers who transit across both countries is estimated to return to the pre-pandemic level of 300,000 travelers daily. Singapore companies should expect their manpower needs to be quickly fulfilled after two years of human resource shortages.

In addition, the construction of the Johor Bahru – Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS)  is scheduled to be completed in 2027 and is expected to boost commercial operations between the adjacent countries. The rail project aims to carry 10,000 passengers per hour between the borders.

Food supply chain stabilized

Singapore imports up to 90 percent of its food from global sources and up to 37 percent of Singapore’s chicken, 15 percent of its fish, and other produce – such as eggs, vegetables, and milk – are supplied by Malaysia. The regular, continued movement of cargo across borders to bring in sufficient fresh food supplies for wet markets and stores is important for the island nation to maintain food availability and price stability. This is why Singapore and Malaysia promptly established the Singapore-Malaysia Special Working Committee on COVID-19 to maintain stable trade flows of goods and services. Nevertheless, the effects of disruption are still visible in the spike in prices of essential goods, such as eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

Integration of trade linkages

Despite the crisis brought on by the pandemic, economic cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia continues to remain strong. Both countries are members of the ASEAN Free Trade Area and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Both these trade agreements aim to strengthen the cross-border integration of supply chains among ASEAN regional countries and other large global economies.

Further Reading


About Us

ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including in SingaporeHanoiHo Chi Minh City, and Da Nang in Vietnam, Munich, and Esen in Germany, Boston, and Salt Lake City in the United States, Milan, Conegliano, and Udine in Italy, in addition to Jakarta, and Batam in Indonesia. We also have partner firms in Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Thailand as well as our practices in China and India. Please contact us at asia@dezshira.com or visit our website at www.dezshira.com.

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