ISKANDAR PUTERI, Johor: The Johor state government is seeking special approval from the Malaysia federal government to reopen the land checkpoints with Singapore for workers in certain industries, students, as well as Singaporeans who live in Johor. 

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (Mar 18), Johor Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad said the Johor state executive council is coming up with a mitigation plan to grant certain individuals special permission to travel across the land border checkpoints with Singapore. 

Mr Hasni said: “The state government hopes that the restricted movement order is exempted for those who are in Johor Bahru and need to head to Singapore for work purposes, such as logistic drivers bringing goods in and out of Singapore, those who have work passes approved by both Singapore and Malaysia governments, specialists or technical professionals in certain businesses, students who go to schools in Singapore and for Singaporeans who live in Johor.” 

READ: Most imports of fresh food from Malaysia arrived as normal, other goods also allowed in, says Chan Chun Sing

The Malaysia government imposed a restricted movement order on Wednesday that bars its citizens from going overseas and foreigners from entering the country until the end of March.

The order aims to prevent further spread of COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, Malaysia reported two deaths from COVID-19 and 790 cases in total.

Mr Hasni said that a committee headed by him, which includes the state secretary, the Johor health director and the Johor immigration director, would discuss the matter on Wednesday. 

The committee would then forward the proposal to the federal government to make the final decision.

READ: COVID-19 FAQ: How are Singaporeans in Malaysia affected by the restricted movement order?

Mr Hasni stressed that a system would be put in place to ensure that stringent health screenings are conducted on those who are allowed to travel through the land checkpoints. 

He also warned that travellers who wish to commute through the borders for tourism purposes or social visits will continue to be prohibited as part of the restricted movement order. 

“The commitee will set up a plan to mitigate. If we allow commercial transport (and) 70,000 to 80,000 motorbikes to go in and out, there must be stringent screening system in place,” said Mr Hasni. 

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