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Automated immigration clearance for single drivers at Woodlands, Tuas checkpoints: ICA on Singapore-Malaysia land border reopening

Automated immigration clearance for single drivers at Woodlands, Tuas checkpoints: ICA on Singapore-Malaysia land border reopening

A bus carrying passengers crosses the Causeway linking Singapore and Malaysia on Nov 29, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Vincent Thian)

SINGAPORE: Bus and car counters across Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints have been configured to automate immigration clearance for single drivers, ahead of the further land border reopening between Singapore and Malaysia on Friday (Apr 1).

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Thursday that the number of automated lanes at bus halls have also been increased to beef up clearance capacity at Woodlands Checkpoint.

At Woodlands, there are currently 40 arrival car counters and 36 departure car counters, said commander at Woodlands Assistant Commissioner (AC) Colin Tan.

"As we approach midnight, depending on the traffic situation, we will deploy our officers accordingly. And if the traffic situation calls for it, we will man all available counters if necessary," said AC Tan.

Singapore and Malaysia are easing border restrictions from Apr 1, allowing fully vaccinated people from both countries to cross the land border by private transport.

Before border restrictions were implemented in March 2020, around 300,000 Malaysians would commute across the border daily for work.

With the reopening, authorities have said they expect heavy traffic and urged people not to rush to travel if there is no urgent need to do so.

"Contingency plans have been put in place to cope with unforeseen traffic circumstances," said ICA in its news release on Thursday.

The ICA and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) have been maintaining, enhancing and testing their systems to ensure operational readiness and efficiency when the land border reopens, it said.

The authority has also worked with its Malaysian counterparts to "have adequate resources on the ground to manage traffic and ensure vehicles maintain lane discipline" on Causeway and the Second Link.

ICA also has been cooperating with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Customs on the operational details of the reopening of the borders to minimise inconvenience to travellers, it added.

ICA said that its officers and the checkpoint agencies have been undergoing drills and exercises to familiarise themselves with the workflow and processes.

"We have also planned our manpower in anticipation of the reopening tonight and subsequent anticipated long weekend peaks. We will monitor traffic conditions in real-time across the different conveyance modes, and adjust our resources accordingly."

The ICA advised travellers to prepare all necessary documents, including valid travel documents, submitting an SG Arrival Card and having a valid Vehicle Entry Permit before arriving at the checkpoints.

The three-quarter tank rule will also apply for departing Singapore-registered vehicles.

"ICA would like to seek the public’s understanding and cooperation to avoid nonessential travel, especially during the peak hours. Depending on the traveller volume, delays are to be expected."

Source: CNA/nh