While all eyes are on Malaysia’s ambition to reopen the international borders fully, the country has just agreed with neighbouring Thailand for vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) in principle. 

The facilitation for the bilateral movement of people will encompass air, land and sea links between both countries. The announcement came shortly after a similar embryonic understanding was put in place between Malaysia and Brunei. The Malaysia-Brunei VTL is awaiting the SOP proposal. At present Malaysia has already implemented the VTL initiative with Singapore, which has helped thousands reunited with their families as well as enabling business travel without the need to quarantine.  

What to know about the Malaysia-Thailand VTL agreement?  

“For a start, we can implement the air VTL between KL and Bangkok for travellers who are fully vaccinated. We will also consider adding other destinations in future. 

“The VTL scheme will also be expanded to open land borders via Bukit Kayu Hitam-Sadao as well as all CIQ in the north of the peninsula and southern Thailand and the sea VTL between Langkawi and Satun. 

“This will certainly assist to revive the economic and business network between the two sides especially in the tourism sector,” Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a joint media conference, as reported by the Malay Mail

His bullish comment came after a dialogue with Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha not privy to the media while on a 3-day official visitation to Thailand. Ismail further revealed that relevant ministries and agencies will hold talks regarding the SOP implementation for the VTL.  

Though the Malaysia’s borders aren’t fully open, the populace is allowed to travel outside the country. However, their return is subject to mandatory quarantine to varying degrees. The exemption is granted to the person who has been boosted and recently recovered from Covid-19 infection. Foreign travellers on leisure can enter Malaysia via the Malaysia-Singapore VTL programme without having to quarantine or enrol in the Langkawi international travel bubble where they must stay on the island for at least 5 days before they are allowed onto other parts of Malaysia. 

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Hero and feature image credit: Artur Kornakov on Unsplash

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