16 February 2022
After the maiden initiative with Singapore proved fruitful, the Malaysia-Brunei VTL could follow suit.
Following a diplomatic visitation of Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to Brunei, an air and land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) has been agreed in principle between both neighbouring countries.
Although Malaysia is in the midst of an escalating Omicron assault, the circumstance hasn’t deterred the country from casting long term with an eye on international borders reopening and resumption of cross-border travel, and the resultant economic benefits.
Previously, Malaysia and Indonesia have assumed talks on the implementation of VTL, while the existing Malaysia-Singapore VTL has received overwhelming response from the public, particularly during the Chinese New Year period where thousands of Malaysians working in Singapore travelled home for reunion.
According to a Bernama report via The Star, the initial proposal entails 4 weekly flights between Malaysia and Brunei. As of writing, there are only 2 flights per week between Kuala Lumpur and Bandar Seri Begawan. It was also reported that the Sultan of Brunei agreed to recognise the use of MySejahtera and BruHealth in both countries to ease the movement of people.
Details were not revealed pending further SOPs consideration.
Why does the Malaysia-Brunei VTL make perfect sense?
Brunei has a symbiotic relationship with Malaysia, especially Sarawakian townships on the borders buoyed by the strong Bruneian dollar. The Star pointed out that Sarawak notched close to 1.3 million Bruneian visitors in 2019. They generated an estimated tourism receipt of RM3.63 billion, amounting to 2.74% to the state’s economy.
MAHB, the operator of KLIA, revealed in its 2019 report that the Kuala Lumpur-Bandar Seri Begawan route plied by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Royal Brunei Airlines recorded 403,712 in international passenger movements.
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