Wuhan virus: Travellers between Singapore, Malaysia worry about lack of screening at Johor checkpoints

A man wearing a mask outside Woodlands Checkpoint, on Jan 24, 2020. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
People wearing masks at Woodlands Checkpoint, on Jan 27, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Daily travellers between Malaysia and Singapore are concerned over what they see as a lack of temperature screening at Johor's checkpoints following the coronavirus outbreak.

Frequent travellers say there is no screening at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) for those arriving by motorcycles, cars, buses or trains.

About 8,000 passengers use the KTMB train services between Woodlands and Johor Baru Sentral on a daily basis, with KTMB providing 31 trips via its Tebrau shuttle.

Private security officer K. Visvam, 38, who enters the island republic on his motorcycle daily for work, said he never noticed any screening at the BSI CIQ.

"So far, it has been a smooth journey for me and many other motorcyclists, as there has been no screening carried out on the motorcycle lane, " he added.

Frequent traveller S. Tamilarunan, 32, said he was surprised that there was no screening done at the motorcycle lane when he enters Malaysia.

"I thought there will be stringent checks in the wake of the virus but it seems the authorities on the Malaysian side are leaving everything to their Singaporean counterparts," he said.

Mother of two Natalie Ten Yen Ling, 40, who went on a holiday with her family to Singapore recently, said there was stringent screening at the Woodlands side.

"We were caught in a massive jam due to the stringent checks by Singapore but when we entered Malaysia, it was a swift and smooth experience with no screening, much to our dismay," she said.

Ms Karen Ng, 26, who works as an auxiliary police officer in Singapore, did not notice any checks as she passed through BSI on her way back to her hometown in Melaka on a bus to celebrate Chinese New Year.

"There is a long queue due to the high number of travellers at the clearance counters inside BSI but there were no screenings at all."

Meanwhile, Johor Mentri Besar Sahruddin Jamal is calling for stringent security control at all entry points into the state, especially at the Senai International Airport, BSI and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex at the Second Link.

The traffic jam on the Causeway between Woodlands and Johor Baru Sentral, on Jan 27, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

"The government, through the agencies that are involved in the safety and security, should give confidence to the people through all kinds of medium, especially social media.

"This involves sharing strategy that has been implemented by the government through the Health Ministry," he said in his speech during the state level security management programme held at Kota Iskandar on Wednesday (Jan 29).

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.