Longer wait to enter Singapore due to security checks for missing radioactive device


JOHOR BARU: Motorists heading into Singapore will have to wait much longer than usual at the Causeway and Second Link after the island republic increases its security checks following the disappearance of a radioactive dispersal device (RDD) in Malaysia earlier this month.

Frequent travellers are experiencing tighter security checks by the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) than normal when they enter the city-state.

Singapore has reportedly stepped up inspection at its checkpoints after the device containing the radioactive isotope Iridium-192 was reported missing in Malaysia on Aug 10.

Channel NewsAsia said ICA had been monitoring the case, and quoted a spokesman assuring the public that its checkpoints had the capability to detect radioactive threats.

“For example, ICA officers use equipment such as scanners and handheld detectors to screen for radiation levels on cargo, vehicles and travellers entering Singapore,” the spokesman said.

Singaporean cabby Haniff Mah­bob, 65, who drives across the Johor Straits daily, said it now takes longer for inspection by ICA.

“They not only check the boot of every car that enters the bay but the spare tyre compartment as well,” he said when met here yesterday.

Another taxi driver, a Malaysian who only wanted to be known as Ng, said the stringent checks by the ICA had caused traffic heading into Singapore to be considerably slower.

“Vehicles entering Singapore are being monitored more closely in the past two weeks.

“Sometimes, handheld devices are also used to check vehicles and travellers at the Singapore checkpoint,” he said.

Cafe supervisor Aqilah Khairrah Abd Khalid, 23, said bus passengers too are subject to tighter inspection by ICA.

“There are more Singapore Immigration officers being stationed at the Woodlands checkpoint now. They use handheld scanners on our bags and check us thoroughly,” she said.

The 23kg RDD went missing from the back of a pick-up truck as it was being transported from Seremban to Shah Alam.

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