Jams and heavy foot traffic in and out of Woodlands Checkpoint have plagued both Singaporeans and Malaysians for years. Those who travelled to Malaysia this Chinese New Year can attest to the trials and tribulations they endured before entering the country, with many having to endure lengthy waiting times amidst the heavy traffic at Woodlands Checkpoint. In a bid to alleviate such problems, the ICA proposed plans to expand the Woodlands Checkpoint all the way back in 2017. On 26 May 2022, plans for the project were further elaborated upon. More specifically, Woodlands Checkpoint would be expanded to five times its current size to meet a projected 40% increase in traffic volume by 2050. However, as most Singaporeans would know, space is tough to find in land-scarce Singapore. To create the necessary space needed for the expansion, an extension of the Woodlands Checkpoint would be created at the Old Woodlands Town Centre, and 9 HDB blocks in Marsiling would be acquired by 2028. Two Lands Needed In preparation for the redevelopment of Woodlands Checkpoint, Singapore also needed to acquire two plots of land in Woodlands that are currently owned by Malaysia. According to the ICA, Singapore had written to Malaysia in May 2022 and November 2023 to propose the possibility of a purchase or land swap. Malaysia essentially responded to both of these proposals, "We'll think about it". Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore, Datuk Dr Azfar Mohamad Mustafar, has been supportive of Singapore's proposal but stated last week that the authorities were still deliberating the decision. Azfar had also sent in a proposal for a land swap to be made with Singapore but stated that the decision would be up to the "federal government to decide". Yes, Malaysia Does Own Land in Singapore For those wondering why Malaysia even owns land in Singapore to begin with, the reasons can be attributed to our shared past and the history of various land deals between the two countries. For example, Malaysia used to own plots of land where the KTM (or the Malayan Railway) once stood. After a land swap was made between Singapore and Malaysia in 2010, most of the KTM land within Singapore now rightfully belongs to Singapore. Similar plots of land that Malaysia still owns are under the jurisdiction of Malaysia's Federal Lands Commissioner, which may be the reason for the red tape behind Singapore's current proposals to acquire land for the Woodlands Checkpoint. This could spell trouble ahead for the future of the new Woodlands Checkpoint, since Malaysia's lack of response could disrupt plans for the expansion to begin in 2025. Similar Delays on Malaysia's End Have Happened Before Unfortunately, these kinds of delays are a familiar occurrence to most Singaporeans. In case you've forgotten, the highly anticipated Johor-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link, which could possibly resolve the problem of long commutes from Singapore to Malaysia, has met with similar obstacles. At one point, the fate of the project became uncertain, with construction delayed and suspended for six months until new terms were agreed and the project resumed.