The leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia announced they have agreed to launch a “Vaccinated Travel Lane” (VTL) program, during Malaysia’s PM first official international visit since he took office in August.
The news comes just two days after Malaysia and Singapore announced that a similar reopening scheme will be launched between KLIA and Changi Airport on November 29.
In the beginning, the VTL will give priority to fully vaccinated travelers and those traveling for official, business, medical, or humanitarian reasons.
A pilot test will be conducted between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, before other low-risk locations may be added to the program.
“We can open our borders, and maybe we can start with this initial framework with Kuala Lumpur – Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur, and also Kuala Lumpur – Bali – Kuala Lumpur,” said Malaysia’s Prime Minister.
Notice that these destinations are not confirmed yet. The PM stated that the pertinent ministers will need to study the “travel matter” thoroughly before confirming any details.
The leaders agreed that this effort must be carried out in a safe manner, balancing the need to restart their economies while protecting public health.
They also talked about the Kalimantan-Sabah border and other land and sea borders, migrant worker protection, Myanmar’s situation, and concerns in the South China Sea, particularly now when this country is about to adopt a new aggressive land border law.
Indonesian president told reporters that “as close neighbors and peoples of a common race, [they] must strengthen [their] cooperation based on the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit.”
Between January and August, Indonesia has seen an increase of 49 percent in trade with Malaysia compared to the same period last year.
Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that “the visit provides an opportunity for the leaders to advance collaboration towards effective recovery as two immediate neighbors deal with the impacts of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic.”