Causeway jams as Singapore tightens security

Bumper-to-bumper crawl: A massive traffic jam into Singapore along the Johor Causeway.

JOHOR BARU: Singapore’s decision to tighten security at the border crossings with Malaysia has resulted in massive traffic jams across the Causeway and Second Link.

To make matters worse, many motorists travelling to the island republic were caught in two- to three-hour congestion, especially during rush hour at 4pm.

They said the checks started soon after the attack on the Ulu Tiram police station on May 17.

Driver Ali Hassan, 57, was shocked to find the Singapore authorities carrying out thorough checks on all vehicles since Sunday morning.

“Why carry out such checks, causing so much inconvenience to the public? I was stuck in a jam at the Causeway for four hours on Sunday.

“The last time they carried out such detailed checks was during the escape of Jemaah Islamiah leader Mas Selamat Kastari in 2008,” he said, expressing worry that the situation would worsen during the weekend.

A motorcyclist, known as Kumar, 42, said he too was stuck in a crawl for almost two hours.

“Even motorcyclists were thoroughly checked. A lot of enforcement officers from the police, customs and immigration were at the Singapore checkpoints,” said Kumar, adding that he was worried that the traffic situation would worsen during the upcoming Singapore school holidays between May 25 and June 23.

He said the immigration clearance on the Malaysian side was smooth without any issues.

A commuter, known only as Tan, who commutes by bus to Singapore daily, said the traffic situation has worsened since Sunday.

“There were thousands of people stuck as the buses were unable to cross the Causeway due to the jam,” she said, hoping that the congestion would improve soon.

Two policemen were killed while another was injured in the attack by a 21-year-old man at the Ulu Tiram police station. The attacker was also killed in the early morning incident.

Singapore’s Home Affairs Ministry announced in a statement that it has heightened its security measures, including at its checkpoints, following the attack.

The ministry said travellers going through its checkpoints should expect some delays due to increased security measures.

“In view of the heightened threat situation and the fact that the Malaysian police are looking for several other Jemaah Islamiah members, we had earlier today (May 18) stepped up security measures, including at our checkpoints.

“These measures include increased patrols and enhanced checks on travellers and conveyances.

“Travellers should expect delays at the checkpoints due to enhanced checks and factor in additional time needed for immigration clearance,” it said.

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