Further talks needed with Singapore on plan for single inspection centre at Causeway: Malaysia DPM

Further talks needed with Singapore on plan for single inspection centre at Causeway: Malaysia DPM

Channel NewsAsia·2018-02-12 00:10

A view of the causeway bordering Malaysia's southern state of Johor Baru. (Photo: AFP)

SEGAMAT, Johor: Malaysia will discuss in detail with Singapore the proposal to introduce a single inspection centre on the Johor Causeway, Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Sunday (Feb 11).

“They (Singapore) must form an action body as carried out by Malaysia … I have not met with Singapore Deputy Prime Minister (Teo Chee Hean) because he is in the same position as I and we will discuss the matter in detail," Dr Ahmad Zahid said.

Malaysia's The Star newspaper reported on Saturday that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had proposed having a single inspection centre on the Johor Causeway. 

This means travellers going to Singapore would be checked in Singapore and those heading to Johor would be checked on the Malaysian side, Mr Najib was cited as saying.

In response, Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs said it is not possiblefor Singapore to do away with immigration and custom checks for departing travellers.

However on Sunday, Dr Ahmad Zahid said: "Maybe the question of interpretation is different and this needs articulation from both parties between Malaysia and Singapore.”

He pointed out that if the proposal could be implemented, the single checkpoint would play an important role in enabling a smooth flow of traffic and overcome the problem of congestion occurring at the Johor Causeway.

He noted that Malaysia should respect Singapore's security concerns, but did not foresee any problem for the suggestion to be implemented.

"We know that there is a bottleneck at the Johor Causeway and I have discussed with the Johor Menteri Besar for the state government as well as the federal government to tackle the issue together,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said that he had personally chaired the action body to tackle the congestion at the Johor Causeway and it was expected that RM100 million (US$25 million) would be spent to upgrade the existing route to overcome the bottleneck.

"We have agreed in principle that the cost would be shared together with the state government bearing 50 per cent while the other 50 per cent would be borne by the federal government,” he added.

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