Congestion at the Causeway

Slow moving traffic at the Causeway heading towards Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Johoreans working in Singapore are urging the Malaysian authorities to improve health screening procedures at the Johor Causeway following the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus.

Water treatment senior research and development engineer Gerard Tee, 40, said he made it a point to reach Singapore’s Woodlands checkpoint between 5.30am and 5.45am since the outbreak.

“It is pretty fast to pass through the Singapore checkpoint as there are more car lanes open now and health workers are already deployed to check our body temperature,’’ he said.

But it was a different story on the opposite side at the Causeway when returning home from work, which Tee said was congested after Singapore upgraded the outbreak from code yellow to orange.

He said prior to the change in status, it was smooth sailing at the Causeway.

“Now, health screening is done before the passport counters, causing congestion and a three-minute drive to immigration now takes an hour,’’ said Tee.

He said the situation was made worse by some irresponsible and selfish motorists cutting queue, adding that the authorities should open more passport counters especially during peak hours and on weekends.

Accountant Ng Weng Chai, 36, said the bottleneck on the Malaysia side heading towards Johor Baru was largely due to temperature screening done before the passport clearance process.

“It makes sense to conduct body temperature check after passport clearance like what Singapore is doing as it eases congestion,’’ said Ng.

He hoped Malaysia could emulate Singapore by having one health worker or medical staff station at each passport counter as it was proven to speed up health inspection procedures at the Woodlands checkpoint.

He further said now was the best time to encourage people to use e-wallet and other payment options instead of cash to reduce physical contact and avoid infection.

Air-conditioner service business owner Sim Ju Hwa, 45, said there was room for improvement of health screening procedures at the Causeway.

“We need more health workers at the Causeway now to ensure those entering Malaysia from Singapore are not infected,’’ he said.

Sim said Malaysia should not take things lightly considering how fast the disease had spread.

He said the government could rope in the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assist the authorities in containing the outbreak.

Sim said the private sector and NGOs could come forward to volunteer in conducting body screening procedures at the Causeway and at the Second Link Crossing in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah.

“They can distribute face masks or hand sanitiser to commuters as thousands of motorists and visitors enter Malaysia via both land links,’’ he said.

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