Waiting times to clear Customs can take hours, but Malaysia thinks that they have a solution to end the Causeway jam.
In an interview with The Star on Friday (Feb 3), Johor politician Fazli Mohamad Salleh shared a proposal to adopt a system where clearance would only be done on either side of the border once.
Under the current practice, travellers heading on either side of the border must clear immigration at Woodlands or Tuas Checkpoint, and in Johor Bahru.
The proposal is still “in its initial stage”, according to Fazli.
“This means Singapore’s immigration officers will be stationed at checkpoints in Johor, while Malaysian immigration personnel will be deployed in Singapore to clear those entering Malaysia”.
This comes after Malaysian immigration authorities had activated more officers at the Causeway to ease congestion on Wednesday (Feb 1), Malay Mail reported.
Over on Facebook, a netizen at the Malaysia-Singapore Border group is taking this news with a pinch of salt.
“I’ve told my five-year-old nice to follow up on the progress of this when she’s 35,” he quipped.
Back in 2018, a Malaysian minister had suggested a “third bridge” linking Johor and Singapore to ease congestion.
Malaysia’s then-Land Minister Xavier Jayakumar proposed a new bridge crossing from Johor’s Pasir Gudang industrial area to Pulau Punggol Barat in Singapore, reported The Straits Times.
There have been no recent developments on this possible third bridge.
Current measures to ease congestion
While it is early days on whether Fazli’s proposal will actually come into fruition, Singapore and Malaysian immigration authorities haven taken measures to ease the human and vehicle congestion across the Causeway.
Singaporeans can now can use the electronic gates (e-gate) at the checkpoints in Tuas and Woodlands.
These facilities were only limited for the use of local Malaysian passport holders, Malaysia’s Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told media outlets on Jan 20.
Singaporeans who want to use the e-gate facility must hold e-passports with a validity period of at least three months.
“In addition to that, Singapore visitors need to submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) online three days before travel, and also to verify their biometrics at the Immigration counter for the first time,” he said.
Massive Causeway jam during holiday periods
This must have come as a relief for future travellers heading to Johor, after there were spells of massive traffic congestion on the eve of Chinese New Year.
A TikTok video uploaded on the same day (Jan 21) showed a long line of cars in the Causeway, while a netizen estimated that it took five hours to clear Customs.
If you don’t have to go, stay home. Let them go back for CNY ❤️ #checkpoint #cny2023
Such scenes were a repeat from last December.
A TikTok user took to social media to share how his family ended up stuck in traffic for a whopping seven hours – just to get from Johor Bahru (JB) city to Singapore.
“Seven hours is a new record though. Hopefully it’s a one off case,” he said.
ALSO READ: Traffic jams galore: Man spends 7 hours driving from Johor Bahru to Singapore after trying land checkpoints
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