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Johor chief minister says they will put in “more effort” to reduce COVID-19 cases for Singapore to consider border reopening

Empty Singapore Johor border Image Credits:

Johor chief minister Hasni Mohammad has noted on 31 May that Singapore and Malaysia have put talks to reopen cross-border travel on hold. This is due to the pandemic situation in Malaysia.

Following the recent news report, our neighbouring country has also entered a two-week “total lockdown” from 1 June.

“This decision was made after taking into account the current situation of COVID-19 transmission in Malaysia with daily case numbers exceeding 8,000 and active cases exceeding 70,000,” read a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“More effort” needed to reduce Johor’s COVID-19 cases

Mr Hasni remarked that Johor has always been a city contributing to Malaysia economy. Thus, activity in the capital of the Malaysian state of Johor must resume as soon as possible.

“We just have to make sure that more effort is being put towards reducing the number of cases in Johor. And I believe once the number is reduced to an acceptable level, Singapore will consider our request to reopen the borders again,” adding that the ball is in their court now.

Vaccination priority: Malaysian “economic frontliners” in Singapore

The Johor state government is planning to tackle the COVID-19 numbers by accelerating the vaccination of its residents.

According to the ImmuPlan Johor initiative, 100,000 residents will be on the priority list for vaccination. These chosen ones would be “economic frontliners” working in Singapore and individuals intending to resume cross-border work commuting.

It seems like Johor is on track in their initiative, with around 70,000 people qualifying. This group of people will likely receive their Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 jabs next month onwards.

Johor eager to acquire vaccines from our tiny red dot
COVID-19 vaccines

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The chief minister also said that Johor is in talks to secure their vaccines through various channels, including Singapore.

“I was made to understand, from some vaccine suppliers… about their willingness to supply (to us). But they are tied to the understanding they will have to give priority to the country’s requirement first,” commented Mr Hasni.

He has also expressed keenness in working with Temasek Foundation again to up the supply of vaccines in Johor. As most of us already know, Temasek Foundation is a Singapore-based non-profit organisation. 

Previously in March this year, Temasek Foundation had planned to distribute 7.5 million face masks across 260 vending machines with a total worth of RM 25 million (S$8.04 million), to aid Johor in its COVID-19 fight.

“So, maybe from the foundation’s perspective, it is more of charitable work. But I suppose if it is on an understanding that can be developed to manage, control or reduce the number of positive COVID-19 patients, then why not?” Mr Hasni asserted.

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