sda causeway

Fixing the Causeway Problems: So Much Time, So Little Progress

Dear Friends,

If you’re travelling to Malaysia during this May school holiday period, be prepared to wait for hours amongst snaking queues of traffic.

Yes, the familiar “Causeway Jam” situation does not appear to have improved.

In 2018, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam blamed the jam on a manpower crunch with Singapore’s immigration authorities.

He even stated that ICA officers were “working their guts out”.

It has been four years, and Mr Shanmugam is still heading the Law and Home Affairs Ministry.

The traffic situation, unfortunately, has apparently gotten worse according to some frequent travellers.

This is despite the Covid-19 pandemic and land border closure for roughly two years, buying the Home Affairs and Transport Ministries some time to fix longstanding problems.

Today, traveller volume has not even reached 90 per cent of the volume prior to the pandemic, and yet there is difficulty coping.

The ministries in charge have been given ample time to plan infrastructural improvements, recruit staff, and deploy innovate technology to ease the crunch, in expectation of the re-opening of borders.

Which makes the present state of affairs all the more disappointing.

Now, the government has forcefully acquired flats from Marsiling residents, with the intention of expanding the Causeway by 2028.

The SDA questions whether taxpayers’ dollars are being spent wisely.

For one, what measures have been taken to make sure there is sufficient staff? Especially since the familiar complaints of counters being unmanned are still all too common.

Secondly, what plans have been made with Malaysian authorities to ensure smooth traffic on both ends and avoid bottlenecks on their end?

And finally, what has the government done for the past four years to plan for the border re-opening, so that vehicular and human traffic can move smoother than before?

Time wasted due to inefficiency frustrates holiday-makers, incurs higher costs for businesses, and could potentially be an expensive white elephant if not managed well.

If a student cannot pass his PSLE, he cannot go on to take his ‘O’ Level exams.

Similarly, if leaders of the Home Affairs and Transport Ministries cannot even helm the Causeway in its current state, how can Singaporeans feel at ease giving them oversight of a bigger, more grandiose project?

Desmond Lim
Singapore Democratic Alliance

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