Johor task force suggests a single agency should handle Causeway traffic

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

One of the most important recommendations from a state task force in Johor is the proposal that there be only one single government agency for handling all the operations at the checkpoint.

The task force, led by Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen, was assembled for the purpose of looking for solutions to the problem of congestion at the Causeway.

Chen told the New Straits Times on Monday, January 21, that there are too many entities that are involved the Sultan Iskandar customs, immigration and quarantine operations in Johor Bahru.

”There are 23 departments and agencies operating at the complex at the moment, and each would report to their own respective superiors. This would make it difficult to implement any changes as each department and agency has their own instructions.”

He further noted that Malaysia needs to look to Singapore as an example, where only one agency, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), spearheads all the issues concerned with the checkpoints. “With a single agency, we will be able to reduce bureaucracy in the border administration and improve response time whenever there is any problem.”

In July 2018, the Causeway congestion task force was assembled to examine the issues that the checkpoint faces, and to see how these could be solved. Another task force is in charge of doing the same for the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.

Another of the 11 recommendations from the task force is that the number ofImmigration Department personnel should be raised during peak hours. Yet another called for coordination with Singapore regarding adding to the frequency of the train service from Johor Bahru to Woodlands.

One more recommendation is for the Rapid Transport System (RTS) link to be built, connecting Bukit Chagar station in Johor Baru and Woodlands North station in Singapore. The link is supposed to be done by 2024.

The task force took 4 months in accomplishing their report. Upon completion, it was given to different pertinent ministries, as well as to Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

According to Chen, the Home Minister told him he would “look at the proposals and, if suitable, will try to implement them as quickly as possible.”

Every day, approximately 150,000 people cross both sides of the Causeway, according to the study conducted by the task force. However, Singapore media has reported that the number is around double at that figure. 

Chen said, “Either way, this makes the Causeway one of the busiest checkpoints in the world. It is important for us to address the congestion problem at the checkpoint as soon as possible in order to ensure the comfort and convenience of those who use it, especially Malaysians who commute to Singapore for work.”

“What we want to see are changes being implemented as soon as possible, even if it is done little by little. This is a big problem that needs a comprehensive solution.”

Read related: ICA pins blame for heavy Causeway traffic on a bomb hoax, car breakdowns, and queue-cutting

ICA pins blame for heavy Causeway traffic on a bomb hoax, car breakdowns, and queue-cutting