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Johor to ask for bus services for RGL, PCA travellers as cross-border travel with Singapore partially resumes

Johor to ask for bus services for RGL, PCA travellers as cross-border travel with Singapore partially resumes

File photo of Malaysian workers entering Singapore at Woodlands Checkpoint on Aug 17, 2020. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor state government will make a request soon to the Johor Public Transport Corporation to provide bus services for travellers making their way across the Causeway to Singapore on foot, amid the partial resumption of cross-border travel between the two countries.

Hundreds of travellers crossed the Causeway in both directions on Monday (Aug 17), the first day of the implementation for the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) at the Singapore-Malaysia border.

As there is no public transport or shuttle buses plying the 1km-long Causeway, those without their own private vehicles had to travel on foot - many with large pieces of luggage. 

Those travelling from Johor Bahru to Singapore said that they took between one hour and two hours to clear immigration procedures and cross the border.

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The PCA allows Singapore and Malaysia citizens or permanent residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to enter that country for work.

Meanwhile, the RGL is for Malaysia and Singapore residents keen to do shorter-term travel of up to 14 days, for essential business and official purposes.

State Public Works, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri said that bus services would lighten the burden of those who have to cross the Causeway on foot.

He said a discussion would be held to ensure the provision of the services did not breach any rules.

"We saw several groups of pedestrians carrying their bags on the Johor Causeway today. We sympathise (with their situation and) we will make a request to PAJ (Johor Public Transport Corporation) to provide bus services to the border of Singapore, with approval from the authorities," he said.

READ: FAQ - How can workers travel between Singapore and Malaysia and what are the COVID-19 protocols in place?

READ: Measures for Singapore-Malaysia travel include minimum 7-day stay-home notice, COVID-19 test

At the same time, he said, the buses could also ferry travellers entering Malaysia. 

"We will use a small coach bus so that it will be able to make U-turns on the Causeway,” he said.

Johor Immigration Department director Baharuddin Tahir said that about 300 people had crossed the border to enter Malaysia through the Causeway between 7am and 9.30am.

Before the COVID-19 restrictions, more than 300,000 people travelled across the Causeway daily, making it one of the busiest overland border crossings in the region. 

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