KLUANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The leaders of Malaysia and Singapore will discuss, among other things, the reopening of the border when they meet in Singapore on May 4, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin also said the Covid-19 pandemic is making it difficult for Malaysia to send a representative to fill the High Commissioner position in Singapore, which has been vacant for a year now.
He said the appointment of the Malaysian high commissioner to Singapore was still under process.
“There are still some technical issues that Wisma Putra must see to first,” he said after officiating the Malaysia Prihatin Parliament Sembrong programme in Paloh on Monday (April 12).
“I am not denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for us to place representatives of our embassies in several countries,” he added.
The Malaysian high commissioner post to Singapore has been vacant after Datuk Zainol Rahim Zainuddin retired in April last year.
The Malaysian High Commission in Singapore is currently being headed by a charge d’affaires.
However, despite the absence of a high commissioner, Mr Hishammuddin said the relationship between Malaysia and Singapore was still normal.
“In fact, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be making an official visit to Singapore to meet his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on May 4,” he added.
He said even with the Johor government’s desire to reopen the border within the next two months, Malaysia must get Singapore’s approval first.
“The discussion process is still ongoing. Singapore Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan recently visited our country and we briefly discussed the matter.
“I will make sure that this is in the agenda to be discussed between Muhyiddin with Lee,” he said.
During a visit to Malaysia on March 23, Dr Balakrishnan met Mr Hishammuddin and the two countries agreed to work towards recognising each other’s vaccine certificates to facilitate cross-border travel.
They also agreed to progressively restore cross-border travel for other groups of travellers, in addition to the existing Reciprocal Green Lane and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement.