SINGAPORE: The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in Singapore has reported a significant increase in the number of passengers using land checkpoints between Singapore and Malaysia during weekends in January. The agency has said that it anticipates heightened congestion during the upcoming Lunar New Year period.

In a statement this week, ICA revealed that over the long weekend from 26-28 Jan, traffic jams persisted at land checkpoints, with more than 1.37 million people passing through customs. The average daily number of customs clearances surged by nearly 14 per cent compared to the New Year’s Day long weekend.

To address this surge and anticipate the influx of travelers during the Lunar New Year period from 8-13 Feb (Thursday to Tuesday), ICA is urging passengers using customs by car or bus to brace themselves for extended waiting times. The authority estimates that bus travelers may face nearly three-hour wait times during peak periods.

The ICA also issued a reminder to motorists, emphasizing the importance of queuing etiquette and discouraging line-jumping to maintain order and efficiency. Offenders may be required to rejoin the queue.

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ICA revealed earlier that heightened security measures have also been implemented at the checkpoints in response to the evolving situation in the Middle East and travelers are advised to factor in additional waiting and customs clearance time, particularly on weekends when congestion is expected to peak.

As part of the security measures, the ICA is reminding passengers to exercise discretion when displaying items related to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Publicly displaying a foreign flag without a permit is considered a violation of the Foreign National Emblems (Controlled Display) Act 1949. Non-compliance with these regulations may result in firm action, including denial of entry into Singapore.

The ICA reassured the public that it will closely monitor the situation and adjust security measures as necessary to ensure the safety and efficiency of border crossings during this busy holiday period.

Motorists are encouraged to stay informed by checking the ICA’s social media pages for the latest traffic conditions at both land checkpoints. Travelers are reminded to plan accordingly, allowing for potential delays and adhering to security regulations to facilitate a smooth passage through customs during the festive season.