World

Illegal shortcut across Causeway

M'sians spotted bypassing Johor customs to reach Woodlands Checkpoint

Some Malaysians are taking the easy way out to reach Singapore.

They bypass the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ), walk past railway lines behind the Johor Causeway or a construction site and then walk up to the Woodlands Checkpoint, The Star reported.

Mr Ahmad Rejab, 42, is one such person. He was barred from leaving Malaysia after being declared bankrupt.

But he claims he has been able to sneak into Singapore, where he works at a construction site.

The route helps him bypass the Johor CIQ.

This has been going on for some time and the 300m-long route is also used by people wanting to beat the early morning jam at the Johor CIQ.

Another Malaysian, who wanted to be known only as Gavin, said it is a 15- or 20-minute walk to the Woodlands Checkpoint after leaving the Johor side.

FASTER

It sometimes takes about 45 ­minutes to clear the Johor CIQ and get a bus to Singapore, he said.

"A lot of people use this way, it's faster," the man in his 20s was quoted as saying.

Mr Gavin said the route would pass through a construction site operated by a China-based developer. He said security was lax in the area and there were no guards - but this poses a different risk.

He said: "Some people have been robbed along this route at night, probably by drug addicts.

"I use this way only if I am late for work."

What also helps these people sneak across the border is that the databases of the Malaysian and ­Singa­porean immigration authorities are not linked, The Star said in its report.

Since the Malaysian passport is electronic and does not have to be stamped, Malaysian immigration officials will not be alerted if a Malaysian passport holder bypasses the Johor CIQ.

A check by The Star showed that the fencing near the border had been cut and the route is partly hidden by a ramp for traffic going to Singapore from the Johor CIQ.

There are also a lot of people moving about in the area, including workers going to and from the construction site.

The construction site developer has since put up barricades to stop people from passing through the construction site.

An official from Malaysia's KTM railway also said security at the railway lines was being tightened.

Johor Immigration Department director Rohaizi Bahari said those who illegally exit the country could face up to five years in jail, or a fine of up to RM10,000 (S$3,580), or both.