Malaysia-Singapore land VTL travel starts Nov 29, but only by bus for now

The much-anticipated land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Malaysia and Singapore will begin on Nov 29 but is limited to bus travel only, and with a daily cap of 1,500 travellers at the initial stage.

The reason to allow for only buses in the initial phase is purely as a control mechanism. Other modes of transportation would be included in stages.

The land VTL coincides with the air VTL between both nations.

According to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office this evening, those who can travel via land VTL were:

  • Malaysian and Singaporean citizens.
  • Permanent residents
  • Long-term pass holders

Travellers must be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated children below the age of 12 must be accompanied by their vaccinated parents or guardians.

“Eligible travellers will be subjected to Covid-19 testing and further health requirements determined by the respective countries,” the statement read.

All Singapore-bound designated land VTL bus services will use the Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal (Larkin Sentral) as the boarding, and disembarkation point in Malaysia, while Queen Street Terminal (QST) will serve as the boarding, and disembarkation point in Singapore.

The statement added both governments had also agreed for a daily quota not exceeding 1,500 travellers at the initial stage, with weekly increments.

Travellers coming into Malaysia using the land VTL need to register at https://mysafetravel.gov.my/, while travellers from Malaysia to Singapore, are required to register at https://go.gov.sg/vtl-portal.

Registration is compulsory before purchasing tickets. Details on the land VTL requirements are available at https://www.miti.gov.my and https://www.safetravel.ica.gov.sg/.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights.

‘COPS SUMMONING MP OVER SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT A FORM OF INTIMIDATION’

Lawmakers have urged Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Harun to uphold the sanctity of the august House after police summoned Sepanggar MP Azis Jamman over his speech concerning Sabah at the last Budget 2022 debate.

Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng raised the matter, saying Azis’ speech was not objected to in Parliament, and that Azhar himself had not stopped the MP from talking.

Lim said the action by police to summon Azis was a form of intimidation, and that MPs had the right to raise issues and public concerns in Parliament. Lim added Azis did not call for Sabah to leave Malaysia, but was merely highlighting the views of Sabahans.

Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said this created a “dangerous precedent”, while Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming said MPs should be allowed to speak freely, without fear or favour, in Parliament.

Azis expressed surprise that he was contacted by police about his speech, adding he was merely raising concerns of the people. Azis added that Putrajaya should be sensitive about matters raised by MPs.

Azhar meanwhile, said he would go through the Hansard and would communicate with the relevant authorities.

EPF CONTRIBUTIONS TO GO TO ACCOUNT 1

Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contributions will be channelled to Account 1 until the amount that has been withdrawn under the various schemes, is replaced.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, contributors were allowed to withdraw their savings.

Funds from Account 1 can only be taken out upon retirement, while money in Account 2, can only be withdrawn for certain expenses, like the purchase of a property, investment schemes, and education.

Deputy Finance Minister Shahar Abdullah said RM101 billion had been withdrawn from EPF by members under i-Lestari, i-Sinar and i-Citra.

He explained that once the amount withdrawn had been replaced, contributions would then revert to the previous system of 70 per cent of contributions saved in Account 1, and the balance, parked in Account 2.

SARAWAK POLLS NEXT MONTH

The 12th Sarawak election will be held on Dec 18.

The Election Commission announced that nomination will be held on Dec 6, while early voting will be on Dec 14.

Eighty-two nomination centres and 82 counting centres would be set up for the polls.

DR M: NO OTHER CONVICT IN MALAYSIA TREATED LIKE NAJIB

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government must explain why the treatment of a “convict like Datuk Seri Najib Razak was different from all other convicts”.

The former prime minister said Malaysia was witnessing a blatant discrimination in the practice of the law as he compared the different treatments accorded to Najib, and his former deputy, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, whom he put behind bars.

“While the police broke Anwar’s door, arrested, handcuffed, and threw him into a police car to be detained before he was charged in court, Najib was never arrested, or handcuffed, or taken to a lockup in a police car,” said Dr Mahathir in his latest blog posting.

Najib was found guilty by the High Court in June last year of seven charges related to the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International’s funds. High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali later granted Najib a stay of execution pending his appeal to the Court of Appeal.

“As far as I know, no other person has been treated this way. He is now allowed to leave the country. Again, there is no such precedent anywhere.”

Dr Mahathir questioned on what basis were these privileges accorded to Najib, when it was not given to Anwar, or any other convicted person.

“Clearly, the rule of law has not been applied equally between them. All these may be legal, but they are not in accordance with the rule of law,” he added.

MEANINGFUL CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION CRUCIAL FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the health, nutrition, education, development, and future of youths were increasingly at risk due to climate change.

“Indeed, it is a serious cause for concern and immediate action,” he said during a webinar organised by Unicef and the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, global greenhouse gas emissions needed to be halved by 2030 and cut to zero by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts. However, most countries are not on track to meet these targets.

The webinar also shared findings from a recent joint report by Unicef Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and Universiti Malaysia Sabah, titled ‘Impact of Climate Change on Children: A Malaysian Perspective’. A key finding showed that current systems, including policies and regulatory framework on the environment, do not sufficiently protect children’s rights to a healthy environment.