Fewer Singaporean visitors due to Causeway gridlock: Malaysian minister

GEORGE TOWN (Penang) • Malaysia has cited traffic congestion at the Causeway checkpoint as the reason that fewer Singaporeans are visiting the country.

Malaysia's Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said the number of tourists from Singapore dropped to 10.2 million last year, compared with 12 million in 2017.

"The gridlock at Singapore's Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex often sees people waiting for hours just to pass through the checkpoints.

"The Singapore CIQ was built more for cargo. Moving passengers through the checkpoint is a major issue," he said on Friday.

Frequent users of the 1.06km Causeway would find the task of passing through the land link daunting, especially during school holidays.

The matter was further compounded as it was earlier reported that foreign motorists are reminded to check any outstanding fines for vehicle-related offences and pay up, or they would be denied entry into Singapore.

LONG WAIT

The gridlock at Singapore's Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex often sees people waiting for hours just to pass through the checkpoints.

The Singapore CIQ was built more for cargo. Moving passengers through the checkpoint is a major issue.

MR MUHAMMAD BAKHTIAR WAN CHIK, Malaysia's Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, on the reason for the long waits at the Singapore CIQ.

Johor's food and beverage industry recently claimed that their businesses have been affected by a decline in tourist arrivals from Singapore due to ongoing tensions between the city state and Malaysia, as well as delays at the immigration checkpoints.

 

Mr Muhammad Bakhtiar said on Friday that the decrease in the number of tourists from Singapore could also be the result of aggressive promotions from Singapore Airlines and other travel agents to visit other countries.

"We have to accept the fact that all our neighbours are promoting their countries through advertisements and promotions. We have to fight the market. Even Brunei, which never promoted tourism, is doing it now because of the dip in oil prices," he said.

Mr Muhammad Bakhtiar said his ministry was also in talks with the Home Ministry on the speedy issuance of visas on arrival for other foreigners in order to bring in more tourists at the Johor CIQ.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 07, 2019, with the headline 'Fewer Singaporean visitors due to Causeway gridlock: Malaysian minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe