All Johor checkpoint counters to open for Polling Day

Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the Immigration Department will be mobilising 350 officers to work during the general election.
Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the Immigration Department will be mobilising 350 officers to work during the general election.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

JOHOR BARU • Malaysia's Immigration Department will open all its counters in Johor for three days from May 8 to facilitate traffic flow, with the aim of making it smoother for Malaysians to go home to vote and then turn back to Singapore.

Malaysia's Polling Day falls on May 9, a Wednesday.

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the department will be mobilising 350 officers to work during the general election, Malaysian media quoted him as saying on Sunday.

Southern Johor is linked to Singapore by the Causeway in Woodlands and the Tuas Checkpoint.

He said the officers will be deployed to both the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at the Causeway and the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ complex on the Tuas side.

"We do expect congestion as it is something that we are still working on, especially during special occasions and festivities, as traffic volumes might increase during this period," said Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan, as reported by Bernama news agency.

He said traffic congestion along both checkpoints is normal and does not happen only on Polling Day.

"I must stress here that the traffic congestion at both CIQs are not due to our immigration workforce not carrying out their duty, but due to the fact that vehicle volume entering Johor is extremely high," he added.

"Let us put it this way: If all counters are open, would it help to ease congestion? Sure, it might speed up the process but it would definitely not resolve the congestion that may extend to the highway later."

The Deputy Home Minister reminded Malaysians who are returning to vote to plan their trips carefully to avoid getting caught in the traffic snarl that might occur before and after Polling Day, Bernama reported.

Voting centres in Malaysia will be open from 8am to 5pm on Polling Day.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Road Transport Department (JPJ) has dismissed as untrue a viral social media message that claimed Singapore vehicles not registered under Malaysia's vehicle entry permit (VEP) system from May 1 will be blocked from entering Peninsular Malaysia.

The claims are alarming as more than 400,000 Malaysians work in Singapore, and thousands of them are expected to drive Singapore-registered cars into Malaysia to vote. If the claims are true, then many could be turned back at the two Malaysian checkpoints in Johor.

Malaysia announced in October last year that all foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia will soon require a RM25 (S$8.50) VEP tag, on top of existing road charges.

The VEP tag is fitted with radio-frequency identification technology and will be integrated with a cashless payment system developed by Touch 'n Go, the operator that collects road charges.

The JPJ said on Sunday that there is no such compulsory registration being conducted as the VEP system is undergoing tests.

"The VEP is still undergoing tests and the system's stability and completeness need to be verified before full implementation.

"Therefore, we would like to stress that, at this time, vehicles from outside the country or from Singapore won't be blocked although they are not registered yet under the VEP," it said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2018, with the headline 'All Johor checkpoint counters to open for Polling Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe