Johor government proposes ‘single clearance’ immigration system to ease Causeway congestion: Report
Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority says it has not received any such proposal.
JOHOR BAHRU: In a bid to ease Causeway congestion, the Johor government has proposed a “single clearance system” to alleviate the traffic situation at the land checkpoint.
Under the proposed system, immigration clearance will only be conducted once on either side of the border, Johor’s works, transportation and infrastructure committee chairman Mohamad Fazli Mohamad Salleh told The Star on Friday (Feb 3).
“This means Singapore’s immigration officers will be stationed at our checkpoints in Johor to clear people entering the Republic, while Malaysian immigration personnel will be deployed in Singapore to clear those entering Malaysia,” the state executive council member was quoted as saying by The Star.
He stated: “This proposal is still at the initial stages. This will be similar to the system that will be used when the Rapid Transit System (RTS) operations begin in 2026.”
The RTS link aims to connect the Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru city to Woodlands in Singapore, serving about 10,000 passengers per hour each way to help ease traffic congestion on the Causeway.
Responding to CNA queries on Mr Fazli's proposal, Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Sunday said it "has not received any proposal for a ‘single clearance system’ at the Causeway".
"If and when we receive one, we will study its feasibility with our Malaysian counterparts."
According to Mr Fazli, Johor was also looking for additional funding to increase motorcycle lanes from 50 to 75 each way at the Causeway.
Mr Fazli, who heads a multi-agency task force that looks into easing congestion at the Causeway and Second Link in Tuas, reportedly told The Star that there was a proposal for the lorry lanes to be used for passenger traffic on the weekends.
The Star reported that Johor chief minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi had previously appealed for something to be done about the situation at the Causeway, saying that about 150,000 regular commuters were being greatly inconvenienced by the heavy traffic.
He added that a majority of commuters entering Singapore had to wake up at 4am to queue at the Johor Bahru border checkpoint by 5am in order to get through the traffic gridlock for work and return late at night.
In December last year, Mr Onn Hafiz announced several measures aimed at reducing the congestion at Johor Bahru’s Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex during the tabling of the 2023 Johor state budget.
Among the measures that Mr Onn Hafiz said will be implemented include the restructuring of lanes for motorcycles and cars entering as well as exiting Johor.
Last month, Malaysia's home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced that Singaporeans entering Johor via the two land checkpoints can now use electronic gate (e-gate) facilities which would benefit between 30,000 and 50,000 Singaporeans who visit Johor Bahru for social purposes.
The e-gates were previously limited to Malaysian passport holders.
ICA on Sunday said it has been studying ways to improve travellers’ experience and the traffic situation at the land checkpoints, and pointed to initiatives introduced in recent years.
These include building more car counters and automated gates as well as replacing manual counters with bi-directional automated lanes, said the agency.
"The Woodlands Checkpoint will also be redeveloped over the next few years, and will have more automated clearance lanes for buses, cars, motorcycles and lorries," said ICA.
"This could alleviate congestion and reduce travel time by up to 75 per cent during peak periods.
"ICA will continue to work with our Malaysian counterparts to improve and facilitate cross-border movement while keeping Singapore’s borders safe and secure."