JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Thirty-seven people have been detained for bypassing the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex (CIQ) on their way to Singapore for work.
Johor Immigration Department director Rohaizi Ibrahim said they were caught while walking the railway lines along the Causeway to go to Singapore.
He said those detained from 5am until 8am on Friday were 35 Malaysians, including one woman and one Singaporean male .
"Most of the Malaysians are work-permit holders in Singapore and choose to bypass the CIQ to avoid the early morning jam at the Johor CIQ each day," said Rohaizi.
He said the operation was conducted following a report by The Star on Friday, of Malaysians bypassing the CIQ in Bangunan Sultan Iskandar to work in Singapore.
Mr Rohaizi said that it was a serious offence to exit the country illegally, even though those detained in the operation held legal Singapore work permits.
Since the Malaysian passport is electronic and does not need to be stamped, Singapore Immigration officers will not be alerted if the holder bypassed the Johor CIQ.
The databases of the Malaysian and Singaporean immigration authorities are also not linked.
Mr Rohaizi said offenders faced up to five years' jail and a fine of up to RM10,000 (S$3,576) or both under Section 5(2) and Section 56 (1A) of the Immigration Act.