Johor Mentri Besar Hasni Mohammad revealed yesterday that the government is in talks with Singapore to open up a sea travel Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) alongside the recently implemented air and land VTLs. The discussion on the sea VTL is set to happen at the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) in January of next year.
The tentative VTL will connect the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore to the new Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal (DCFT) near Kota Tinggi, Johor. According to Hasni, the DCFT is already completed but not yet operational, so aspects of the plan will depend on the cooperation of the owner of the terminal, Khazanah Nasional.
The DCFT was completed last month, and was built with international tourism in mind. The terminal plans to bring in passengers from Singapore and Indonesia via ferry, with ferry operators expecting to receive approval from the Marine Department of Malaysia (JLM) and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in two to three months.
VTLs allow travellers who meet certain criteria to travel between the two countries without having to go through quarantine on arrival, as long as they are vaccinated and go through a rigorous amount of testing for COVID-19. As of now, the air VTL allows all travellers from Malaysia, including short-term visitors such as tourists, to use it while the land VTL is only allowed for those with long-term passes in Singapore.