Some still sneaking across Causeway from Johor to Singapore illegally despite crackdown

Woodlands Checkpoint and the Causeway.
Woodlands Checkpoint and the Causeway.ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Some people are still making a dash to cross the Causeway to Singapore illegally, despite the crackdown by the Immigration Department over the last few days.

The Star observed that although there were far fewer than last week, a handful were still bypassing the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex by sneaking across a construction site at the ground floor.

The difference is that they are doing it earlier than usual.

A security guard at the construction site of a major Chinese developer said people continued to walk to Singapore as early as 4.30am now.

 

"Now that one of their favourite routes has been sealed, these people are using other routes," said the guard, who declined to be named.

At peak commuting hours, there is reason for people to walk across the 1km-long Causeway when even buses can be stuck in the gridlock for as long as 45 minutes or more.

Walking instead of taking a bus saves some time, and for some commuters, perhaps the fare.

Malaysia unilaterally prohibited walking across the Causeway after the CIQ complex opened in 2010, citing "security" reasons, even though Singapore still allows the long-standing practice.

Last week, the Immigration Department arrested 51 people, including two Singaporeans, after they were caught leaving Malaysia through the illegal route.

 

In an unrelated case, the immigration authorities on both sides of the Causeway are investigating how a 34-year-old Malaysian woman was able to exit Johor and drive towards Singapore with an expired passport on Tuesday.

In a statement, Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said the Malaysia-registered car tailgated another car at the Woodlands checkpoint at 5.10am.

The driver refused to exit the vehicle when asked to do so, and officials had to smash the vehicle windows to arrest her.

On Monday, a 41-year-old Malaysian, who is a Singapore permanent resident, was arrested for driving past the Woodlands immigration counter without stopping for clearance at 3.50am.