SINGAPORE — When news broke that Singapore and Malaysia were easing travel restrictions for people from both countries, Singaporean freelancer Lim Hui Hui was ecstatic.
Having used to make weekly day trips to Johor Baru before Covid-19 struck, the 23-year-old immediately made plans to resume her usual shopping getaway with her boyfriend on April 1, the first day of the eased restrictions.
“I haven’t seen my friends living in Johor Baru for over two years, and I also want to pump petrol since it’s cheaper,” she said on Wednesday (March 30).
However, she faced issues while registering for MySejahtera, a contact tracing application that is required for entry into Malaysia.
She was also confused about whether she needed to purchase travel insurance to enter Malaysia.
So Ms Lim decided to put off her getaway. “It’s such an overwhelming process,” she said, adding that she would wait until the kinks are ironed out before heading to Malaysia.
She is not alone. Five other hopeful travelers told TODAY that they have held off their trips, or are worried they will not be allowed entry into Malaysia due to similar concerns.
TODAY has contacted the Malaysian immigration department for clarification.
RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS REQUIREMENT
Ms Lim’s first hurdle was registering for an account on the MySejahtera application, which required her to provide a Malaysian residential address which she did not have as she had no plans to stay in Malaysia.
“They require us to put a Malaysian state, so I just put Johor but typed my Singapore address,” she said. While she was able to create an account, she is uncertain if this would impact her entry into Malaysia.
Aside from that, she also found it difficult to update her vaccination status on the app, only to realise that it would take up to five working days for it to be approved.
“It’s quite a long period, and I’m not sure if I did it right since there aren’t any (clear) guidelines,” she said.
Mrs Suria Hafees, 44, a part-time assistant at a maid agency, said: “My husband registered his residential address with his Singapore address but put a Malaysian state since there was no option for ‘Singapore’.”
The Malaysian had not been back at her hometown in two years since the pandemic hit, and hopes to visit her parents in Port Dickson with her sons, aged 10 and seven. Her sons and husband are Singaporeans.
However, their plans to drive up next weekend are on the rocks.
When the couple tried to change his registered address to her parent’s address, they realised they could only do it through MySejahtera’s help desk which was closed on weekends. They have since managed to put in a query but have yet to hear a response if the address can be changed.
“I am afraid that since the address is totally wrong, it may affect the approval of (my husband’s) vaccination status. I really hope to be able to see my mother again, but we can only wait and see,” Mrs Suria said.
According to MySafeTravel, travelers headed to Malaysia should verify their digital vaccination status on its site before entering Singapore.
Mr Chong, a Singaporean who declined to give his full name, said that he, too, was uncertain of the status of his MySejahtera registration and the need for travel insurance.
While the 56-year-old had hoped to travel to Johor to buy groceries during the weekend, he said that he was worried he would be turned away because he does not have travel insurance.
Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Tuesday that all short-term visitors must purchase Covid-19 insurance to enter.
But on Wednesday, the Malaysian health ministry tweeted an infographic clarifying that fully vaccinated travelers heading to the country via land would not need to purchase travel insurance to enter.