Standstill at Causeway: Governments must be proactive to help Malaysian workers

Joint media conference statement by DAP Johor Chairman Liew Chin Tong and Johor Assemblymen Cheo Yee How, Liow Cai Tung, Chen Kah Eng and Chew Peck Choo, on 18th December 2015 at the Malaysian CIQ Building

Standstill at Causeway: Governments must be proactive to help Malaysian workers

Over the past week, Malaysian workers in Singapore who reside on the Malaysian side were forced to wait for many hours to cross the border as the Singapore authorities tighened control at Singapore’s checkpoints. Several thousands were forced to turn back in the past two days.

This morning, three DAP elected reps, Cheo Yee How, Liow Cai Tung and Chen Kah Eng, walked across the Causeway to inspect the situation first hand.

DAP Johor is deeply concerned with the health and wellbeing of Malaysian workers in Singapore. Those who have to commute daily between Johor Bahru and Singapore are likely to be those in the lower income category. We worry for them and we are saddened by the agony they have to experience just to make ends meet. It is in part a reflection of the poor state of the Malaysian economy, in particular the low value of the ringgit vis-à-vis the Singapore dollar.

Malaysian workers in Singapore are still Malaysians that deserve our utmost attention. Their plight must not be ignored by the Federal and Johor State Governments or the Singapore Government.

DAP Johor urges Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Wahid Omar and Johor Menteri Besar Khaled Nordin, who both sit on the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee, to request for an emergency meeting of the JMC with their Singaporean counterparts.

We recognise that the Malaysian Government cannot resolve this without the cooperation of the Singapore Government. The two Governments must try their best to improve the services at their respective CIQ. The Singapore Government should open more counters at its CIQ to allow for speedier passage for commuters.

On the Malaysian side, many measures can also be implemented to improve the traffic conditions.

Since 2014, DAP Johor has been urging the Federal and Johor State Governments to pioritise the construction of a ‘walkalator’ and other facilities that ensure safe walking. We estimate that the cost of such facility would not exceed RM 20 million. DAP Johor Chairman Liew Chin Tong had personally presented this idea to Abdul Wahid Omar during their meeting in October 2014.

Thousands of Malaysians walk to Singapore and back each day.

DAP Johor has also repeatedly called on the Transport Ministry to make the Terbrau Train Shuttle Service a loop line with a 15-minute interval. Currently, the Terbrau Shuttle has 7 trips each way each day. The morning trips are at 530am, 7am and 830a.m.

It takes only 5 minutes for the train to cross the border. The Tebrau Shuttle can run 4 trips per hour from 5a.m. to 9a.m., dramatically increasing from the current 3 trips to 16 trips in the morning. Each trip carries around 300 pessangers.

DAP Johor proposed that the toll charges collected by PLUS and MRCB, which amounts to an average of RM2.5 million per month before August 2014 and an average of RM9.6 million per month after August 2014, should be devoted to improve public transport and traffic for Malaysian workers commuting to work in Singapore.

Liew Chin Tong
Cheo Yee How
Liow Cai Tung
Chen Kah Eng
Chew Peck Choo

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