From NST Letters 5 Jan 2009:
Mad rush to board bus at CIQ
I HAD previously alerted pedestrians who intend to walk from the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex to Singapore that they would be in for a hazardous journey.
There is no dedicated lane for pedestrians, and the five-foot way along the vehicle road is more like a “two-foot way”, or even one or “no-foot way” at times. Therefore, the oddysey down the CIQ complex to the Causeway carries the very real risk of being knocked down by a vehicle.
I have good news and bad news: The good news is, we don’t have to worry about risking our lives to go to work each morning. The bad news is that walking from the CIQ to Singapore is now not allowed at all! Apparently, it is simply too risky.
It looks like everyone will have to take a bus from now on, no matter how long the queue. That said, I really must commend the staff at the CIQ bus waiting area.
On Wednesday morning, the huge crowd waiting in line for buses once again was became a free-for-all, squeeze-in-where-you-can melee. As usual, up to 12 or so lines were squeezed chaotically into two lines to board the buses.
Then one of the officers stationed at the area began shouting at people to form an orderly queue. He even took a hands-on approach by firmly, but not roughly, placing his hand on the shoulders of those in the fringe lines and beckoning them to the rear.
Soon the spread-out mob became an orderly double line, and you know what? Within minutes, even those at the back of the queue were boarding the buses. It’s amazing what some order and authority can do.
I really admire the guts the officers showed when they sorted out the mess.
However, the CIQ management really needs to give serious consideration to the traffic bottlenecks and especially the total neglect of pedestrians. Just because it is a long, long way to trek, the powers that be apparently decided that no one would even attempt it.
I am definitely not the first to ask that the old customs building be reopened for pedestrians only.
SCOTT THONG YU YUEN,
Previous CIQ complaint letters at Pedestrians Have it Tough at CIQ and Impose law and order on the JB Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex.
See also this The Star report, which may have been researched in response to all the complaints being sent in about the CIQ:
Stranded as walking banned at Causeway
By GLADYS TAY
JOHOR BARU: The new ruling barring people from walking across the Causeway has not only turned out to be an inconvenience but left some stranded in Singapore.
The ruling, which was implemented by Malaysia since the new Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex opened has now been adopted by authorities in the island republic.
With the ruling, pedestrians who were previously able to walk across the 1km causeway when there were massive traffic jams on either side are now forced to wait for public transport.
Many Malaysians, especially workers and students, have been stranded at the checkpoint due to the lack of buses especially during traffic jams and peak hours.
Student Cary Nyeo, 21, had to stay over at a friend’s house in Singapore on Dec 24 when she was unable to board a bus back to Johor Baru.
About turn: Pedestrians who are not allowed to walk across the Causeway have to turn back. This has caused delays and other inconveniences to them.
Nyeo, who is taking a management course in Singapore, said signboards had been put up at the CIQ informing people that walking was not allowed.
“I have seen people break the rule but it is really dangerous to walk across the border now with no pedestrian lanes available,” she said.
Secondary school student Jasmine Tee said the new ruling would extend her travelling time to and from school. The 14 year-old student of Woodlands Secondary in Singapore said she was worried she would reach home very late in the evening.
“If I have to attend extra-curricular activities, I will have to take public transport home,” she said.
“Previously, I would walk across the causeway during a traffic jam and reach home at about 8pm.”
Johor Immigration director Mohd Nasri Ishak said pedestrians were not allowed to walk across the border because it was dangerous.
Southern Johor School Bus Association vice-president Lee Sin Min said they had gone to the new CIQ to check out the place to familiarise themselves with the routes and procedures.
He said the waiting bays for buses were not enough.