Channel NewsAsia

Getting around another Causeway jam

Some companies and individuals have come up with contingency plans so Malaysian workers can make their way into Singapore, just in case there is a repeat of last Friday's checkpoint blockade. 

SINGAPORE: A protest by bus drivers over Malaysian toll hikes caused a massive jam at the Johor Bahru checkpoint last Friday (Aug 1). Some companies and workers have come up with contingency plans, just in case a similar incident occurs again.

Soverus Security Solutions, for instance, is looking at rolling out a creative scheme, in case its Malaysian staff are delayed at the Causeway again - it will give S$100 to staff with motorcycles who offer pillion rides to their colleagues who take the bus.

CEO Paul Lim called the scheme a win-win situation: "The guy that gets the ride doesn't have to (cost) the company a single cent for transport. The guy that rides the bike in, he gets S$100, which is more than enough to cover one month's biking fuel."

The firm has about 100 Malaysian security officers, out of a pool of 400. The scheme will start next month and could cost between S$2,000 and S$3,000 a year.   

Other companies like supermarket chain Sheng Siong says it imports leafy vegetables from Malaysia every day, but can turn to other sources in the region, such as China. As for students who live in Malaysia, the Education Ministry says it is making travel arrangements with their parents. The MOE later clarified that it has advised parents of students who may be affected by delays on the Causeway to plan alternative arrangements.

For some Malaysian workers like Mr Jimmy Tan, the best solution is to simply stay here. "Actually, I'm not the only one looking for a room. When I was searching for a room on the Internet, I found that there were many others who were looking for a room in Singapore," said the auditor, who is from Johor Bahru. 

Property experts say last Friday's bus incident is unlikely to cause a surge in demand for rental flats or rooms among Malaysians. That is because, in the long run, this will not be cost-effective, especially if the workers do not earn a lot.

Meanwhile, Malaysians Channel NewsAsia spoke to say they are taking a wait-and-see approach, with some already making plans to car-pool when coming to Singapore.