Don’t need a passport?QR code system under consideration to speed up immigration clearance for overland travel from Singapore to Malaysia, Singapore News

JOHOR BARU — A passport-free QR code system is being considered to speed up immigration clearance for land travel between Singapore and Malaysia as part of plans for the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JSSEZ).

Other cooperation initiatives being considered include making it easier for Singaporean companies to set up shop in Johor through the state’s one-stop business and investment services center to facilitate applications for approvals and licenses. Masu.

Digitalization of cargo customs clearance procedures at land checkpoints is also being considered.

As both countries work towards the JSSEZ, an investor forum may be held jointly to gather feedback from businesses regarding the special zone.

In a joint press statement on January 11, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said: (MTI) and the Malaysian Ministry of Economic Affairs said these initial initiatives demonstrate the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit from both sides for the JSSEZ to promote economic growth.

These complement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two countries on January 11 on the Special Economic Zone to strengthen economic links between Johor and Singapore.

The MoU was signed by Gan Kim Yong, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Malaysian Economy Minister Mohd Rafizi Ramli, and was also witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

The MoU will be signed two months after the 10th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in October 2023. Prime Minister Lee told reporters at the retreat that a feasibility study is underway to gauge investor interest and market demand.

Singapore was the second-largest foreign investor in Johor from January to June 2022, accounting for about 70% of total foreign direct investment in manufacturing.


Under the MoU, the creation of a special economic zone will strengthen cross-border connectivity of goods and facilitate more seamless and speedy movement between Johor and Singapore.

It also allows people, including professionals, managers, executives, and technicians, to move more freely to support investments and business operations.

The business ecosystem within JSSEZ will be strengthened to facilitate investment expansion and create good jobs. This will be done through human resources and vocational training initiatives and financial support to businesses.

A special economic zone framework will be developed to determine the economic areas of mutual interest for cooperation and the geographical area covered by the JSSEZ.

Developing such a framework will lay the foundation for the conclusion of legally binding agreements in the future, MTI said.

Mr Gan said: “JSSEZ highlights what Singapore and Malaysia can achieve when governments and business communities work closely together.”

“This will be a bridge for both sides to leverage each other’s complementary strengths and seize opportunities to grow together.”

Mr Rafizi noted that SEZs offer “unprecedented opportunities” to enhance cross-border flows of goods and people, strengthen the business ecosystem and enhance the economic attractiveness of both Johor and Singapore.

“I am confident that this initiative will mark the beginning of a transformative chapter in our economic relationship, fostering unparalleled connectivity and prosperity for our two great countries,” he said.

The implementation of the MOU will be overseen by the JSSEZ Joint Committee, jointly led by Singapore’s MTI and Malaysia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The committee will report to the Iskandar Malaysia Joint Ministerial Committee, co-chaired by National Development Minister Desmond Lee and Mr Rafizi.

MTI and Malaysia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement that the two countries have agreed to work towards a full-fledged agreement on the JSSEZ and that updates will be presented at the 11th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat.

The ministries said the JSSEZ leverages Johor’s strong growth and Singapore’s significant investment in the region.

In 2022 alone, Malaysia’s southernmost state saw investments worth RM70.6 billion (S$20.2 billion) in a variety of sectors including electrical and electronics, medical equipment, food manufacturing and data centres.

Singapore and Malaysia are each other’s second largest trading partners, with bilateral trade reaching $153 billion in 2022, an 18.9% year-on-year increase.

The Republic is also Malaysia’s largest source of foreign direct investment, contributing 20.5% in 2022.


Prior to the signing of the MOU, Prime Minister Lee and Malaysian Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar attended a ceremony to commemorate the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link.

The ceremony marked the completion of the connecting concrete span between the Singapore and Malaysian sections of the link viaduct. Two-thirds of the social infrastructure on the Singapore side has been completed.

Also read: JB-Singapore RTS link construction 65% complete, expected to start in 2026 , Singapore News

this article First published in The Straits Times. Permission is required for reproduction.

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