LABIS (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia will need to hold further discussions with Singapore over the possibility of having a single border checkpoint between the two countries, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sunday (Feb 11).
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid, who is also Malaysia's Home Minister said the country respected Singapore's concern over security matters if there were to be only one checkpoint for the Rapid Transit System (RTS) and the High Speed Rail (HSR), the two upcoming train links between both countries.
"This is a matter of security for both countries and I will soon meet up with my counterpart from Singapore to further discuss the single checkpoint issue," he added, speaking after an event in Johor.
He pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Razak suggested the single checkpoint to ease congestion at the Causeway, the existing road and rail link between Johor and Singapore.
Under the proposal, travellers going to Singapore would be checked at the Republic’s side, and those heading into Johor checked on the Malaysian side, Datuk Seri Najib had said on Friday (Feb 9).
Dr Ahmad Zahid was asked to comment on The Straits Times' report where the Singapore's Home Affairs Ministry said on Saturday (Feb 10) it was not possible to do away with immigration and custom checks on the Singaporean side for departing travellers as departure checks are a vital part of the country's border security strategy.
Singapore's Home Affairs Ministry said that the Singapore government will continue to work with Malaysia to explore other practical ways to facilitate travel between the two countries.
On another matter, Dr Ahmad Zahid said a total of RM100 million (S$34.2 million) had been allocated for upgrading works at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.
He added that the federal government will contribute RM50 million while Johor state will bear the remainder of the costs.
"We want to ease the traffic flow into the Causeway, especially the bottleneck at our side," he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid also leads a special task force looking to ease congestion at the Causeway.