Fifty Malaysia-registered vehicles have been denied entry into Singapore at both land checkpoints as of 8am yesterday after new measures took effect on Monday.
In a statement yesterday, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) said the clearance time for incoming vehicles at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints was not affected as a result of turning away foreign vehicles with outstanding fines.
All vehicles denied entry are now diverted to separate parking spaces to be processed; this does not affect the flow of other traffic.
The move to deny entry to foreign vehicles with outstanding fines for traffic, parking or vehicular emission offences was announced in February.
The authorities said yesterday that the move was then publicised through local and foreign media, as well as fliers and billboards at the land checkpoints, to give foreign motorists enough time to settle outstanding fines.
As of February, drivers of foreign vehicles have accumulated about 400,000 outstanding fines amounting to $32 million.
Congestion at the Singapore land checkpoints was reportedly worse than usual on Monday, according to Malaysian paper The Star.
ICA said in its statement it would continue to monitor the impact of the new policy on the traffic situation at the land checkpoints, and seek the cooperation of foreign motorists to settle outstanding fines promptly.
It added that traffic at the land checkpoints can be affected by many different factors, such as peak-hour travel, school holidays and events such as the ongoing Qing Ming Festival.
ICA monitors arrival and departure traffic conditions in real time across different modes of transport, and adjusts its deployment of resources accordingly.
For its part, the Malaysian government has not ordered its police to deny entry to foreign motorists with outstanding traffic summonses, its police chief said yesterday in response to an earlier media report which said the police were considering a similar crackdown.
Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said there have been no instructions from the government to the authorities, including the police, to implement such a course of action, The Star reported.
"Our operation to identify traffic offenders, including foreigners, is routine and ongoing from time to time," he was quoted as telling reporters at the launch of the Southern Region Police band at the Johor Police Contingent headquarters.
Tan Sri Fuzi was asked to comment on Singapore's move to enforce a clampdown on all foreign vehicles with outstanding fines for traffic, parking and vehicular emissions entering the city state, which started on Monday.
"We don't interfere with Singapore's ruling, as it is their prerogative," he said.
Malaysian police were considering the possibility of doing the same to errant foreign drivers, Malay daily Utusan Malaysia reported on Tuesday, citing Federal Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Azisman Alias.
• Additional reporting by Toh Ting Wei