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Border reopening talks with Singapore positive Hishammuddin

PUTRAJAYA : Malaysia's discussions with Singapore pertaining to the reopening of the countries' borders have been positive, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

"I am quite positive...but of course there will be people who look at it negatively but they are not involved in the negotiation and don't know what I have discussed with Singapore's Foreign Minister," he said.

Hishammuddin also assured that the reopening of Malaysia-Singapore borders would look into standard operating procedures (SOPs) and health protocols which would benefit both countries.

Based on his discussions with Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, he said both sides also agreed on the importance of SOPs and health protocols.

"What is important is to take a step by step approach to ensure the reopening of relations and the movement of our people is done smoothly and safely, and benefit us in all sectors," he said in a press conference here today.

Hishammuddin pointed out that if the reopening of borders could not even be done with Malaysia's immediate neighbour, Singapore, then it would be harder to navigate the 'green bubble' concept with other countries.

The "green bubble" concept involves easing travel restrictions between two or more countries where local COVID-19 transmission and cases are low.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said ASEAN foreign ministers yesterday also discussed the possibility of allowing movement of its citizens between any two countries categorised as 'green', under the commonly termed green bubble concept.

"Travel remains important to generate regional economic growth," he said.

Hishammuddin said the green bubble concept could be raised by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during the 36th ASEAN summit tomorrow, adding that Wisma Putra was currently in the midst of planning the best methods possible to implement the concept.

-- BERNAMA