Member of Parliament for Hougang, Png Eng Huat, shared in his Facebook about the dismay his residents and him felt when the Customs and Immigrations Authority (ICA) at Tuas opened a special lane during an extremely busy period, just for Minister for Family and Social Development Tan Chuan-Jin and his entourage of grassroots leaders.
The incident happened on 17 Jul when the opposition MP was returning to Singapore with his residents after a 1-Day Desaru Tour. The MP explained that initially many tired travellers were relieved to see another counter being opened. But it turned to dismay when they discovered that it was only to allow Minister Tan Chuan-Jin to clear.
ICA issued a statement this morning (19 Jul) that Mr Png’s allegations were right, that Minister Tan was indeed “travelling with 20 bus loads of people, who were his residents and grassroots leaders.”
It further confirmed that “Minister Tan, his security officers and the other passengers in his bus were given clearance, without having to queue, at the Tuas Checkpoint on 17 July at around 9.20pm.”
The passengers who were with Minister Tan in the other 19 buses however, were cleared through the normal channels, ICA said. They joined the queue, just like Mr Png and his residents.
ICA said that their records showed that it was at about that time that Mr Png was also there, and that he was in the queue for about 30 minutes before clearing immigration.
ICA said that it was normal practice for the border control agency to give expedited clearance to Ministers, on both sides of the Causeway as well as members of the Malaysian royalty.
ICA said that its officers on the ground will use their discretion if there were others travelling in the same group as the Ministers and royalty, to decide on the clearance process.