JOHOR BAHRU: Johor Chief Minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi said on Wednesday (Mar 30) that traffic jams are expected on Friday at checkpoints in the southern state as borders between Singapore and Malaysia reopen.
He added that all counters will be open and 100 per cent operational in both immigration complexes.
The chief minister was speaking to reporters after visiting the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar at the Woodlands Causeway as well as Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar at the Tuas Second Link.
“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,” said Mr Onn Hafiz.
“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 noted that before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 400,000 people travelled across the Causeway daily, with around 42,000 vehicles being used.
He stated that the Johor authorities are expecting a similar volume of travel for the first seven days of the border reopening, between Apr 1 and Apr 7.
In anticipation of this volume, Mr Onn Hafiz said that almost 2,700 officials from various agencies will be on standby 24/7 from Apr 1 in both immigration complexes.
“All counters will be open, both CIQs (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) will be 100 per cent operational,” added the Machap state assemblyman.
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong, who was also present at the Wednesday press conference, echoed the chief minister’s sentiments that Johor was ready to welcome visitors despite the likely traffic congestion. He also urged travellers and motorists to be patient.
“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,” said Dr Wee.
“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,” he added.
From Friday, fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to cross the land borders between Singapore and Malaysia without quarantine or COVID-19 swab tests, as Malaysia reopens fully to foreigners.
Travellers will be able to use all modes of transport, including private vehicles such as cars and motorcycles.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that toll charges at the Causeway and Second Link immigration complexes in Johor will be waived between Apr 1 and Apr 7 to ease movement of vehicles.
This came after Dr Wee announced on Monday that the Malaysia government will waive the RM20 (S$6.43) road charge (RC) imposed on Singapore-registered vehicles entering the country between Apr 1 and Apr 7.
Dr Wee said at that time that the decision was made taking into consideration that the land borders between the two countries have been closed for more than two years, and that Singaporeans have not been able to enter Malaysia to top up their Touch ‘n Go cards.
He further explained that the exemption was to prevent congestion as many travellers have insufficient balance in their Touch ‘n Go cards or have cards that are no longer valid.