JOHOR BARU: Traffic in Johor Baru came to a standstill yesterday morning as close to 120,000 vehicles – triple the usual traffic – headed into Singapore via the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) in view of the holiday season.
Those working in the city (Johor Baru) were also caught in a massive jam as some motorists made illegal U-turns in a desperate attempt to escape congestion on the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) leading to the CIQ near the Permas exit here.
Malaysians took to Facebook to vent their frustration after being stuck at Singapore Customs for hours.
Some claimed that the pedestrian walkway to enter the island republic was closed despite the exodus of Malaysians starting at around 4am.
Andrew Vijenthern Subramaniam said the pedestrian gates and lorry lanes were only opened after 6am, causing a major human and traffic jam towards Singapore.
“Not sure why, but they didn’t open the gate for pedestrians until 6am and the lorry lane opened late as well. Not just the bridge had heavy jam, EDL started jam by 5.30am,” he said in a Facebook post on the Malaysia Velai Seivor Sangam page yesterday.
User Gloria Lai alleged that many who used the pedestrian walkway tried to enter Singapore and were forced to turn back after hours of waiting for the gates to open.
Johor Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar said the congestion also affected traffic heading towards Permas and Johor Baru for work.
“Many of us were stuck and eventually had to make an illegal U-turn to enter the Permas exit,” he said.
Johor Traffic Police Chief Supt Baharudin Mat Taib said the police had increased the number of officers to monitor traffic flow around the CIQ.
He said a check with Singapore authorities revealed that two motorcycles lanes were closed yesterday, causing more congestion that affected Johor Baru.
Meanwhile, the Johor Immigration Department denied claims that the new immigration system had contributed to the congestion.
Department director Rohaizi Bahari confirmed that both Malaysia and Singapore immigration authorities did not make changes to their systems recently.
He confirmed that the huge volume of traffic from Johor contributed to the congestion.