SINGAPORE: The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) issued an advisory on Friday (Feb 2), saying it expects very heavy traffic at both Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints from Feb 8 to 13 due to Chinese New Year celebrations.

“Those who are clearing immigration by car may have to wait up to three hours. We seek travellers’ understanding and cooperation to be patient, observe traffic rules, maintain lane discipline, and cooperate with ICA officers,” the authority wrote.

ICA is warning travellers to factor in additional waiting time for immigration clearance, particularly over the Lunar New Year long weekend.

It added that this month, it observed a trend of more travellers using land checkpoints during long weekends. From Jan 26 to 28, 2024, there were more than 1.37 million crossings or nearly 458,000 daily crossings.

In comparison, during the New Year long weekend (Dec 30, 2023 to Jan 1, 2024), there were only 402,000 crossings daily, an increase of almost 14 percent.

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What travellers should take note of:

ICA is asking motorists to check the traffic situation at the land checkpoints before starting their travels. They can do this through the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) One Motoring website or the Expressway Monitoring & Advisory System installed along the BKE and AYE.

Updates will also be available via the Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) accounts of the ICA and local radio broadcasts on One 91.3, Kiss92, Hao 96.3, and UFM 100.3.

Motorists must also ensure a valid Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) because applications are no longer accepted at checkpoints to facilitate traffic flow.

ICA warned that those with foreign vehicles who cannot present a valid Autopass card or LTA’s VEP approval email and valid insurance will be ordered to return to Singapore. More details on this may be found on the LTA’s One Motoring website.

ICA also warned drivers not to cut queues, which can make traffic worse and unsafe for other drivers. “Errant motorists caught queue cutting will be turned away and made to re-queue,” it warned.

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Everyone travelling through the checkpoints should have a passport valid for at least six months.

ICA also warned that the following items are prohibited and cannot be brought into Malaysia: firecrackers, ‘Pop-Pop’, weapons, imitation tobacco products (such as electronic cigarettes and vaporisers), ’bak kwa’ (a controlled item), and potted plants.

“Those bringing in dutiable or controlled items such as tobacco products items must proactively make declarations to our officers prior to being checked. Travellers can visit the ICA website for more details on the list of prohibited, controlled, and dutiable items.”

The Authority also reminded travellers driving Singapore-registered cars about the “three-quarter tank” rule, adding that offenders may be issued a composition sum of up to $500 or prosecuted in court. They will also not be allowed to enter Malaysia. /TISG

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