Channel NewsAsia

Malaysian bus drivers stage strike at Johor checkpoint

Malaysian buses ferrying factory workers into Singapore staged a strike at the Johor checkpoint over new toll charges imposed by Malaysia.

SINGAPORE: Malaysian buses ferrying factory workers into Singapore staged a strike early Friday morning (Aug 1) at the Johor checkpoint to protest new toll charges imposed by the Malaysian government.

The Malaysian authorities confirmed to Channel NewsAsia reporter Sumisha Naidu later in the morning that the strike had ended. Chinese daily Sinchew in Malaysia reported that the traffic situation had returned to normal by 8am, after the local authorities promised to look into the revised toll charges.

MediaCorp's hotline received at least five calls about the incident. One of the callers, Mr Tan, said he saw many Malaysia-registered buses ferrying factory workers stopping their vehicles at the Johor checkpoint and refusing to continue their journey into Singapore.

Mr Tan said the strike by the bus drivers caused heavy traffic congestion at the Johor checkpoint. He said factory workers had to disembark at the Malaysian CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex) and walk a long distance into Singapore to board buses to their workplace.

Another caller said the congestion at the Malaysian CIQ had also affected school children travelling into Singapore. He said most of them will be late for schools this morning.

Those streaming into the Singapore side on foot appeared calm and orderly, according to Channel NewsAsia reporter Leong Wai Kit. The Singapore authorities confirmed there were no public order incidents here stemming from the strikes.

TOLL HIKES

The bus drivers are apparently striking over an increase of more than 400 per cent in toll charges at the Johor Bahru Customs which came into effect on Friday.

Announced by the Malaysian Highway Authority last week, the new toll charges for vehicles heading into Singapore are RM6.80 (S$2.65), RM10.20, RM13.60, RM3.40 and RM5.50 for Class 1 to Class 5 vehicles, respectively. Only motorcyclists are exempted from paying toll.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) sent an advisory at 8.05am saying that bus services 160, 170, 170X and 950 have halted services to Johor Bahru until further notice. The suspension was due to a “protest against increase in Malaysian toll fees by Malaysian bus operators which impeded flow of bus traffic through the Johor Bahru Checkpoint,” the advisory said.

At 10.11am, the LTA posted a tweet saying that all bus services have resumed normal operations.

TRAVEL ADVISORY

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) issued a statement on Friday afternoon advising motorists to check on the traffic situation at both land checkpoints.

“ICA has observed that buses plying across the Causeway did not seem to approach the Woodlands Checkpoint as per usual this morning. More travellers were seen walking towards Woodlands Checkpoint instead,” the statement said.

The authority said it has deployed more officers for crowd control and to ensure travellers are cleared smoothly without compromising security. “ICA will work closely with our Malaysian counterparts to monitor the situation,” it added.

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