MALAYSIA — For many who commute from Johor to Singapore, the Causeway jam is unavoidable. Spending hours on the road before work starts can be frustrating, but for these Johor residents who work in Singapore, it’s a necessary sacrifice.
To improve the congestion issues, Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud, the Immigration Department director-general said short-term measures implemented by authorities at the Johor Causeway have enabled 2,300 vehicles to pass through immigration clearance within an hour, up from the previous rate of 1,400 vehicles.
These measures include the Quick Response Team (QRT), which was put in place on 6 February.
According to Malaysia media The Star, Khairul Dzaimee was satisfied that there had been improvements at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex after his visit there on Sunday (12 February).
“Now with QRT, we can process up to 2,300 vehicles within the same period given that the motorists and passengers do not have clearance issues and have sufficient balance in their Touch ‘n Go cards.
He added that the visitor arrival hall at the BSI CIQ, which has a maximum capacity of 3,000 people, used to take authorities four to five hours to clear, but now takes about three hours for the same number of people.
Malaysia Immigration Department has activated QRT earlier this month at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2 with a total of 45 personnel.
Seventy-one officers were deployed to Johor’s CIQs at the Causeway and Second Link to address overcrowding and traffic congestion.
Khairul Dzaimee said the QRT initiative trains staff from other units to man checkpoints without affecting standard operating procedures and workflow.
Singaporeans can now utilize the e-gate feature
Singaporeans can now also utilize the e-gate feature, which was previously limited to Malaysian passports, resulting in faster immigration clearance time for visitors who enter Johor via bus.
However, only 16,000 Singaporeans have used the feature since it was allowed on 20 January, much lower than the targeted 35,000.
To create more awareness, flyers will be handed out this week to Singaporeans, particularly day trippers who visit Johor for shopping and other recreational activities.
In addition, Khairul Dzaimee announced that 20 more e-gates would be installed at BSI for added convenience.
He stated that the necessary infrastructure for system installation and testing is expected to be completed by March, with the goal of having it ready within a month and a half.
70 million people travelled through the BSI CIQ and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex last year
Last year, over 70 million people travelled between Malaysia and Singapore through the BSI CIQ and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (KSAB) in Iskandar Puteri.
All 284 counters at CIQ BSI have processed the entry of 22,415,312 travellers and exits of 25,276,135 people in 2022, while 169 counters at CIQ Sultan Abu Bakar Complex have processed the entry of 12,022,701 people and exits of 10,479,880 people during the same period, according to Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.
During the recent visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to Singapore, the Johor Chief Minister requested for the traffic situation at the Causeway, one of the world’s busiest land crossings, to be improved.
He stated that the 150,000 regular commuters were greatly inconvenienced by the congestion.