Have joint immigration checks

Each day, about 300,000 people cross the Causeway and Second Link between Singapore and Malaysia. And each time, they have to go through two checkpoints controlled by the respective countries.

During peak hours and the holiday season, the queuing and processing times at both checkpoints get quite long.

The roads leading to the checkpoints are also congested.

The waiting time can be reduced by adopting a joint immigration check, where the traveller will be required to pass through just one checkpoint serving both countries, rather than two separate checkpoints.

A traveller from Singapore to Malaysia will be checked by the Malaysian authorities.

Their computer system will be linked to the Singapore system to identify the travellers who are not permitted to leave the country.

A reciprocal arrangement will be made for travellers entering Singapore from Malaysia.

There will be no need to change the existing physical infrastructure, though there will be a need for the respective computer systems to access the system of the other country to track those who are leaving.

The country of departure can update its system to indicate that the person has left the country.

This joint arrangement will reduce the time taken by the travellers to pass through the Causeway and the Second Link.

It will also reduce the manpower required by the two countries to manage the movement of the travellers.

In addition, it will promote travel and tourism between both countries and improve the quality of life for the people living in both countries.

Tan Kin Lian

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2017, with the headline 'Have joint immigration checks'. Print Edition | Subscribe