Indonesia, Malaysia to work on proposed travel corridor: foreign minister

JAKARTA: Indonesia and Malaysia will start planning travel corridors during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period, the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Malaysia said at a joint press conference on Monday (October 18).

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at a virtual news conference that between January and August this year, trade between the two countries reached US$13 billion.

Compared with the $9 billion in the same period last year, it has increased by 44%.

“To maintain this momentum and accelerate economic recovery in both countries, we believe it is important to facilitate the safe movement of business people.

“For this reason, we agreed to push for a Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) agreement between key business people from both countries, which we will discuss as part of the preparations for the Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit,” Ms Masudi said.

She added that this would complement the implementation of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (ATCAF) is about to be implemented.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah is on a four-day official visit to Jakarta, his first visit to the Indonesian capital since he was reappointed as foreign minister on Aug. 30.

Speaking at a press conference, Saifuddin said careful planning was needed before the lanes would be opened.

“I would suggest that there could be several phases. Maybe phase one, phase two, depending on which department or thing should go first. The next one is the less important one, but it could be phase two,” he said.

Saifuddin said, for example, official visits should be prioritized. Another option, he suggested, is to only facilitate travel between certain locations while opening up gradually.

Saifuddin also said that the two sides can consider measures such as reciprocal green lanes, travel corridor arrangements and vaccination lanes. Details will be announced at a later date.

“Despite being in the new normal, hopefully business opportunities and other industries such as education and tourism will follow,” he said.

The Malaysian minister also said the two sides had agreed to work towards mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates.

He noted that both countries have apps to track COVID-19 vaccination status, namely MySejahtera in Malaysia and PeduliLindungi in Indonesia. These can be used as the basis for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, he said.

Ms Masudi added that both governments agreed that vaccines that have been granted the Emergency Use List (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO) should be treated equally and that there should be no discrimination against certain types of vaccines.

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