SINGAPORE - The waiting time at the Woodlands Checkpoint on the Singapore side is "under three hours", said Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam after visiting the border crossing to Malaysia.
Mr Shanmugam visited the checkpoint on Saturday (Dec 19) morning at the peak time of 8.30am to 9.45am after there were reports of massive jams on the Causeway for travellers last week. Travellers have reported waiting times of up to five hours.
He said that Singapore actively monitors the queue, and it is unlikely to exceed three hours.
Media reports that cited four to five hours of waiting time likely included waiting time "on the Malaysian side as well", he said.
Based on the drivers and travellers he spoke to, the waiting time was between one hour to 1.5 hours, Mr Shanmugam said.
"Our own records suggest that on our side, at most it will be two hours plus, under three hours," he added.
But he said that the travellers he spoke to also understood the need for heightened security.
"Our land checkpoints are among the busiest land crossings in the world. People understand that, as a result of what has happened in Paris and the heightened terrorism threats worldwide, ensuring the safety of Singapore and Singaporeans is ICA's foremost priority," Mr Shanmugam said.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has also stepped up the manning of the checkpoint, and all or most of the counters are open, Mr Shanmugam said.
"Our officers are working very very hard, they are working round the clock," he said.
He added that if the counters are closed, it may be because "there was a changing of shift for a few minutes, or the officer had gone to the restroom, or had been re-deployed to a busier zone including the Old Woodlands Checkpoint where new lanes have been opened to spread the traffic".
The number of travellers during this period has increased from 400,000 to 430,000 a day due to the school holidays.
Singaporeans travelling to Malaysia using the Causeway and Second Link have been warned to expect delays due to heightened security measures put in place since the Paris terror attacks last month.
This article was first published on Dec 21, 2015.
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