Image credit: The Star

JOHOR BARU, Feb 17 — The Health Ministry (MOH) is expected to submit its proposal on the standard operating procedures for the reopening the country’s borders to the Cabinet anytime soon.

Senior International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the matter was being studied carefully with the MOH closely monitoring the country’s Covid-19 situation.

He said as Covid-19 cases, especially those involving the Omicron variant, were still high, the decision to reopen international borders must be a carefully studied one.

“The MOH is looking into it and will submit its proposal to the Cabinet very soon,” he told reporters after attending a dialogue on empowering Skudai Industry and Small and Medium Enterprise players here today.

He said the National Recovery Council (MPN) chaired by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had proposed that the government consider reopening Malaysia’s borders in view of the country’s excellent vaccination rate.

“According to the Nikkei Recovery Index report, Malaysia has one of the best recovery programmes, all of which are running smoothly. And so we feel that with new and tighter SOPs, the government can consider this (reopening international borders),” he said.

He also said current discussions on reopening Malaysia’s border with Singapore were centred on the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) by land and air with the allowed quota to be reviewed from time to time.

“We will look into whether we can increase the numbers as Malaysia and Singapore share important economic ties.

“From discussions with the Chamber of Commerce here, they have asked the government to review (restrictions) as business travel is important to Johor to regenerate the (state) economy,” he added.