Monday, 16 June 2008

JOHORE CUSTOM, IMMIGRATION, THE CAUSEWAY AND SINGAPORE

I frequently drive to Singapore for sports, shopping, business and entertainment. The latest being the recent Adidas Sundown Ultra Marathon on 31st May 2008.

The driving condition from Kuala Lumpur to Johor was good and so was my stay in Singapore but our authorities namely the custom. Immigration, the police and the traffic control at the Johor-Singapore causeway was disappointing and this is what I wanted to share.

My passport as well as the passports of 4 other passengers in my car were never cited nor checked or endorsed at the Johor immigration checkpoint. The condition and state of our custom and immigration checkpoint were embarrassing with litters everywhere and all rundown. There were no soldiers or police (or tourist police) or any custom officers standing on standby by the roadside during this peak’est hour. There was no traffic control. Most Singaporean cars were driven at our checkpoint by hooligans. All Singaporean registered cars were overtaking and bypassing all other cars but keep honking and screaming when other Malaysian cars overtook their queue. One of the Singapore registered car almost bang my car when I refused to allow them to overtake my queue.

I drove slowly along the heavy traffic on the causeway for an hour to reach the Singapore custom and immigration checkpoint. There was armed Singaporean police standing at every corner and everywhere along the roadside. All vehicles were thoroughly checked and inspected and all passports were properly cited against individual passengers causing slower traffic flow.

Every time I reached the Singaporean checkpoint, I was always amazed at the beauty, cleanliness and how systematic Singaporean authorities are. The Singaporean custom and immigration building are well kept and modern. The trees were so green and the landscape is well maintained. I immediately felt that I am overseas although Singapore is only 30 minutes drive away from Malaysia.

I was more amazed when I drove on Singapore highway to see all bus and lorry drivers driving politely on the first lane of the highway without any driver bypassing the speed limit or overtaking each other. All other cars were politely driven within the speed limit. There was no existence of the hooligan-behaviour of Singaporean driver on Malaysian road…

When I returned to Malaysia, I was again ashamed at the impression of the state and condition of our Custom & Immigration checkpoint. Johor Bharu is the tourist’s first impression of Malaysia and our authorities (Police, custom & immigration etc…) professionalism & presence must be increased and upgraded. Our buildings and checkpoints should at least be clean, well kept and maintained (if the government do not have any money to upgrade). I strongly support the construction of the scenic bridge as that, amongst other reasons will give a strong impression of Malaysia.





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