If you have relatives or friends from across the Causeway, you would already be aware of the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) arrangement between Malaysia and Singapore. The VTL between the two neighbours started on November 29, allowing families to reunite after being separated since the Covid-19 pandemic started early last year.
There are two parts to the Malaysia-Singapore VTL – the air route connecting Changi and KLIA, and the land route via the Causeway. The latter is what many Malaysians working in Singapore have been waiting for; home is within sight, just a few kilometres away, but yet so far. Seniors who have not yet met their new grandchildren, ailing parents, separated lovers – there’s no shortage of sad stories.
For now, the land VTL is for citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders of the country that they are entering, which means that entry from Singapore to Malaysia will be for Malaysians and Malaysian PRs. Conversely, not everyone can hop on a bus bound for Singapore, unless you’re a Singaporean in Malaysia, or a Malaysian with Singapore PR status or a long-term pass.
This is fair, as it gives priority to those who really need to see their families after such a long separation. The rest of us would have to wait, and if that bad guy called Omicron has his way, it will be a long wait.
“Singapore and Malaysia aim to progressively expand the land VTL to include more travellers, including general travellers, taking into account the public health situation. Subsequently, we will also work towards restoring travel through Tuas Second Link,” Singapore’s prime minister’s office said.
If you’re eligible for the land VTL, there’s a list of requirements to fulfil. Of course, as its name suggests, this travel lane is for the fully vaccinated, and you’ll have to furnish your MySejahtera digital vaccination certificate, or Singapore’s TraceTogether app as proof. Long-term pass holders heading to SG from MY will also need a vaccinated travel pass (VTP). Both the vaccination cert and VTP will need to be printed as well.
There will be 32 land VTL designated bus services entering each country per day, operated by two companies – Transtar Travel and Handal Indah (Causeway Link). The Transtar rides are from Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru to Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange in Singapore, vice versa, while the Causeway Link route is between Larkin Sentral and Queen Street Terminal in Singapore.
Before you purchase your bus ticket online, note that you will need a professionally administered ART/PCR Covid-19 test taken two days before departure, so arrange accordingly – no self-test kits. Both countries require this, as well as an on-arrival ART/RTK test. Upon arrival, one will also have to submit the SG Arrival Card or Electronic Health Declaration Card (eHDC) via MySejahtera, depending on which country you’re entering.
Last but surely not least, you must have travel or medical insurance that includes Covid-19 treatment or hospitalisation costs.
Here’s a first-hand account from CNA’s Amir Yusof, a Singaporean working in Malaysia, who went home by bus on the first day of the land VTL. Apart from a delayed departure (likely caused by the Malaysian PM crossing the Causeway for an official visit), it went as smooth as a first day would, and it cost the newsman a total of RM185, including all the required tests and his bus ride home from Woodlands.
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