SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said that it is not possible for Singapore to do away with immigration and custom checks for departing travellers.
The response follows a report by The Star newspaper on Saturday, in which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was reported to have proposed a single checkpoint at the Johor Causeway.
Under the proposal, travellers going to Singapore would be checked in the Republic and those heading to Johor would be checked on the Malaysian side, Mr Najib was cited as saying.
“These are among the recommendations being looked into by a task force headed by the (Malaysian) Deputy Prime Minister," Mr Najib was cited as saying after a meet-the-people session in Muar on Friday.
Mr Najib also proposed that there be a covered walkway for pedestrians.
“Departure checks are a vital part of Singapore’s border security strategy,” MHA said on Sunday in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.
“The Singapore Government will continue to work with Malaysia to explore other practical ways to facilitate travel between Singapore and Malaysia,” it added.
Mr Najib’s proposal comes amid efforts by both countries to reduce congestion at the Causeway.
The Malaysian Prime Minister's Office, in a statement on Friday, said the commercial vehicle levy at the Tuas Second Link will be reduced to RM50 for vehicles entering and leaving Malaysia beginning Feb 13, down from the current rate of RM100 to RM200.
It added that for all other vehicles, except motorcycles, toll charges will be reduced during off-peak hours, by between 47 per cent and 82 per cent, depending on the vehicle class.
Off-peak hours are between 10am and 3pm, and 11pm and 5am.
Also on Friday, Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that the Republic will too lower its rates to match Malaysia's new tolls. This will take effect April 1, Mr Khaw said in a Facebook post.
“Malaysia has just announced that tolls at 2nd Link will be reduced during off peak periods. Welcome this decision and will match Malaysia’s revised toll rates,” Mr Khaw said.