SINGAPORE: Those intending to travel to Malaysia over the Vesak Day long weekend should expect heavy traffic at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Thursday (May 12).
In a media release, ICA said traffic departing Singapore is expected to be heavy between Frida and Saturday, while traffic into Singapore is expected to be heavy between Sunday and Monday.
As Vesak Day this year falls on Sunday, Monday is a public holiday.
"Travellers using the land checkpoints during these periods can expect delays and are advised to adjust their travel plans to avoid being caught in the traffic jams where possible," the agency said.
Over the previous long weekend between Apr 29 and May 3 - in which both the Labour Day and Hari Raya Puasa public holidays fell - more than 490,000 travellers departed Singapore for Malaysia via the land checkpoints.
The ICA noted that at the peak of the Vesak Day holiday in 2019 - which was also a long weekend - travellers departing Singapore via the land checkpoints had to wait almost three hours.
Those arriving by car during that time had to wait up to one hour before they were cleared through immigration, it said.
"For this upcoming long weekend, travellers are thus advised to factor in additional time for immigration clearance, and to check the traffic situation before embarking on their journey," said the ICA.
It advised people to plan ahead and avoid departing Singapore between 3pm and 11.59pm on Friday, while on Saturday travellers should avoid the periods between 6am and 10am, as well as between 4pm and 9pm.
Meanwhile, those travelling into Singapore should avoid the peak hours between 5pm and 7pm on Sunday, as well as between 1pm and 11.59pm on Monday.
The ICA advised motorists to check the traffic situation at the land checkpoints via the Land Transport Authority’s One Motoring website or the Expressway Monitoring & Advisory System on the Bukit Timah and Ayer Rajah expressways.
"Motorists can also check ICA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates on the traffic situation at both land checkpoints," the agency said.
It also advised travellers to take cross-border bus services instead of driving into Malaysia via private vehicles to avoid getting caught in the traffic jams.
To ensure "smooth immigration clearance and avoid undue delays", the ICA advised travellers to check their passports are valid for at least six months.
Singapore permanent residents who have renewed their passport will also have to transfer their re-entry permit (REP) to the new passport, while long-term pass holders should notify ICA or the Manpower Ministry of any change in their passport particulars.
The agency also reminded travellers against bringing in prohibited items, and advised those driving Singapore-registered cars to ensure their tanks are at least three-quarters full.
The ICA said it would take the necessary measures to "facilitate immigration clearance without compromising security".
"Our checkpoint officers monitor traffic conditions in real-time, to ensure optimal deployment of resources. We will also work with the Traffic Police to ensure road discipline at the critical junctions leading to the land checkpoints," the agency said.
"We seek travellers’ understanding and cooperation to observe traffic rules, maintain lane discipline and cooperate with officers on-site when using the land checkpoints."