SINGAPORE: Hundreds of travellers crossed the checkpoints at Woodlands and the Second Link as Singapore and Malaysia fully reopened their land borders on Friday (Apr 1).
It is the first time in about two years that people can travel freely between both countries by private transport without the need for testing or isolation. Travellers have to be fully vaccinated, and children aged 12 and below who are not fully vaccinated have to be accompanied by an adult who is vaccinated.
Queues formed at Woodlands Checkpoint more than an hour before the border was fully reopened.
Just minutes before the reopening, vehicles honked as the first few motorcyclists entered the departure lanes at Woodlands Checkpoint.
Many cheered and waved their hands as they approached the barricades.
Drivers waited in the queue as they approached the departure booths at Woodlands Checkpoint, many waving at other motorists.
Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's (ICA) Senior Assistant Commissioner Chua Tuan Meng said the reopening of the land border marked a "significant milestone towards living with COVID-19".
"ICA and other agencies have been working closely with our Malaysian counterparts to reopen our borders in a safe and calibrated manner over the past few months," he added.
"It has been more than two years since border restrictions were in place at the land checkpoints.
"Since midnight, operations at both land checkpoints have been smooth. Travellers with the required documents will clear through checkpoints smoothly."
He reminded those travelling to prepare all the necessary documents before arriving at the checkpoints.
"ICA will continue to monitor the situation and finetune the ground processes to improve the checkpoint clearance experience for travellers," he added.
In a statement on Thursday evening, ICA said that together with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), they have been maintaining, enhancing and testing its systems to ensure operational readiness and efficiency.
It added that contingency plans have been put in place to cope with "unforeseen traffic circumstances".
Under the new rules, the cap on the number of daily travellers has been scrapped, with travellers free to enter both countries as and when they want to. Prior to this, passengers had to take designated bus services under the vaccinated travel lane.
While travellers will no longer need to apply for approval to enter Singapore, they must have valid travel documents, such as their passports and vehicle entry permits, before arrival at the checkpoints.
All travellers, including Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, must also complete their SG Arrival Card within three days before arriving at the checkpoints, and submit their digital vaccination certificates in advance on the SafeTravel website.
Before COVID-19, about 400,000 people travelled across the Causeway daily, said Johor Chief Minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi previously. He stated that Johor authorities are expecting a similar volume of travel between Apr 1 and Apr 7.
To ease the movement of vehicles and prevent congestion, the Malaysian government announced earlier this week that toll charges at the Causeway and Second Link complexes will be waived between Apr 1 and Apr 7.
The toll charges waiver at the immigration complexes is on top of the RM20 (S$6.43) road charge exemption announced on Monday for Singapore-registered vehicles.