Passport-free clearance might be part of plans for Johor-S’pore Special Economic Zone, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Passport-free clearance might be part of plans for Johor-S’pore Special Economic Zone

A passport-free QR code system is being explored 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 collaborative initiatives being looked at include making it easier for Singapore businesses to set up shop in Johor through a one-stop business and investment service centre in Johor to facilitate applications for necessary approvals and licences. Also being explored are digitised processes for cargo clearance at land checkpoints.

As both countries work towards the JSSEZ, an investors forum may also be co-organised to gather feedback from businesses about the special zone.

In a joint press statement on Jan 11, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Malaysia’s Ministry of Economy (MOE) said these early initiatives demonstrate the collaborative spirit between both sides and mutual interest in the JSSEZ to drive economic growth.

They complement a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that both countries inked on the special economic zone on Jan 11, to strengthen economic connectivity between Johor and Singapore.

The MOU was signed by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and Malaysia’s Minister of Economy Mohd Rafizi Ramli, and witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. 

Under the MOU, the creation of the special economic zone will enhance cross-border connectivity in goods to promote more seamless and expedited flow of goods between Johor and Singapore.

It will also enable freer movement for people such as professionals, managers, executives and technicians, to support investments and business operations.

To facilitate investment growth and create good jobs, the business ecosystem within the JSSEZ will be strengthened. This will be done through talent and vocational training initiatives and economic support for companies.

A framework for the special economic zone will be developed to determine economic sectors of mutual interest for cooperation, as well as which geographical areas the JSSEZ will cover.

The JSSEZ rides on the strong growth of Johor and significant investments in the region by Singapore, said both ministries. 

The southernmost Malaysian state recorded RM70.6 billion worth of investments in 2022 alone, across various 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 growing 18.9 per cent year-on-year to $153 billion in 2022.