If there’s one thing we all love, it’s travelling across the causeway to go to Malaysia.
If there’s one thing we all hate, it’s being stuck in a traffic jam.
But if there’s one thing we’re probably going to face when the borders to Malaysia open tomorrow (1 April), it’s a traffic jam.
However, this shouldn’t deter you from visiting Malaysia though.
Traffic Jam Likely to Occur at Checkpoints Between Singapore and Malaysia
Just yesterday (30 March), Johor Chief Minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi highlighted that travellers should expect traffic jams at the checkpoints between Singapore and Malaysia tomorrow (1 April) as borders between the two countries reopen.
“There will be an influx of vehicles on Apr 1 so I urge everyone to please be patient. If possible, travellers should stagger their arrivals into Johor,” he explained.
Customs to Operate at Full Capacity
When speaking to reporters after visiting the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar at the Woodlands Causeway and Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar at the Tuas Second Link, the chief minister also revealed that all counters at both immigration checkpoints will be open and operational.
This will allow the facilitation of a more efficient, smoother journey for those travelling from Singapore to Malaysia.
“All counters will be open, both CIQs (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) will be 100% operational,” he affirmed.
Well, if you go to JB every weekend before COVID-19 hit, you’d know why he has to say that.
In both immigration complexes, almost 2,700 officials from various agencies will be on standby around the clock from 1 April onwards.
“Even though we have done our preparations to ensure that everything goes smoothly, I hope that Johoreans, Malaysians as well as Singaporeans who are travelling over, will be patient because we expect traffic congestion to happen,” Mr Onn Hafiz highlighted.
He also brought up that for the first week after borders reopen (1 to 7 April), checkpoints are expected to see levels of traffic similar to pre-COVID times.
To put things into perspective, there was a daily average of 400,000 people travelling across the causeway in some 42,000 vehicles before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
Influx of Traffic Due to Holidays
The chief minister’s words were supported by Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, another minister who was also present at yesterday’s (30 March) press conference.
Dr Wee also emphasised the fact that Johor is “ready to welcome visitors”, even though they may be faced with traffic jams while trying to enter the country. Additionally, he also asked for both travellers and motorists to be patient in a time like this.
During the press conference, Dr Wee mentioned, “I expect that the traffic situation will be worse, especially in the afternoon on Apr 1, as there will be Singaporeans coming in and Malaysians coming home.
“It so happens that there are two celebrations during this weekend—Awal Ramadan and Qingming. These two festivities will lead to an influx of Malaysians coming home. This will have a huge impact, especially in the evening of Apr 1 and on Apr 2. There will be peak traffic on the streets of Johor Bahru.”
Fee to Enter Malaysia Waivered
Dr Wee confirmed on Monday that the Malaysian government will be waiving the RM20 (approximately S$6.43) road charge that owners of Singapore-registered vehicles usually have to pay when they enter the country.
This measure will take place from 1 to 7 April, the first week after borders between Singapore and Malaysia reopen.
Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also announced earlier yesterday (30 March) that toll charges at both immigration complexes will be waived from 1 to 7 April as well.
The rationale behind this move? To ease the movement of vehicles across the causeway.
With regards to why the Malaysian government has decided to do so, Dr Wee clarified that Singaporeans have not been able to top up their Touch ‘n Go cards, which are used to pay these fees, since the borders between both countries have been closed for the past two years.
Hence, the act of topping up or purchasing new Touch ‘n Go cards will result in every vehicle having to spend more time at the immigration checkpoints, which will (unsurprisingly) lead to a longer jam at the checkpoints.
Rules Regarding Travelling to Malaysia
And if, for some reason, you’re still not updated about the newest travel regulations, here’s all you need to know when planning your next trip.
From tomorrow (1 April) onwards, individuals who are fully vaccinated will be able to cross the land borders between Singapore and Malaysia, and will not be required to undergo any COVID-19 swab tests or serve any quarantine. Malaysia will also be fully reopening its borders to foreigners from all countries.
Travellers may enter Malaysia via any form of transport; private cars and motorcycles will be allowed as well.
Apart from that, travellers entering Malaysia by plane will not have to serve quarantine, but will have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before getting on the plane. Fully vaccinated travellers will also not need to buy travel insurance when visiting Malaysia.
And if you’re partially or completely unvaccinated, then you’ll have to serve a five-day quarantine and buy COVID-19 travel insurance as well.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Ministry of Trade & Industry)
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