The Malaysian government was planning to reopen its shared border with Singapore as it sought to generate more revenues for the economy that was heavily dampened by the coronavirus pandemic.
A report by the Straits Times on Monday quoting Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said that the plan will be brought to the table when the Economic Action Council members meet on Monday, October 19.
“I have asked the federal government to consider the state’s request to fully open up our border with the island republic,” he was quoted as saying.
“The plan does not only cover the importance of opening our borders, but also includes those working in Singapore, as well as the impact on investments made in Johor,” he added.
Amid the closure, several businesses have been affected while several foreign investors have warned of potential closure if the closure of borders continues.
“We know that the Malaysia and Singapore border is one of the world’s busiest crossings. The tax collected on our side of the Causeway and Second Link contribute to 50 percent of the Customs Department revenue,” Mohammad said.
“The government must not only consider our request but must make a decision immediately as we cannot be in this position for much longer,” he added.
Malaysia has already sought Singapore’s go-signal to reopen borders in June so that its citizens can go back for daily work.
Mustapa Mohamed, Minister for the Prime Minister’s Economy Department, said that Malaysia will continue to initiate discussions with Singapore despite the former’s increasing cases of coronavirus.
“We understand that … [the] pandemic has many risks and caused many problems but there must be a balance between health issues and economic issues,” he said.
“We are hopeful that when the time comes, the border will be reopened even if it is in stages, as it will help in the recovery of Johor’s economy,” he added.