KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) President, Datuk Tan Kok Liang is calling on the authorities to reintroduce special lane and counter at the Malaysian side of the Malaysia–Singapore Second Link to facilitate tourists and promote cross border tourism.
The Malaysia–Singapore Second Link is located further west over the Straits of Johor, links Gelang Patah in Malaysia and Tuas in Singapore. The bridge was built as an alternative route for travellers and to reduce the traffic congestion at the Johor–Singapore Causeway.
The Second Link bridge serves hundred thousand of Malaysians and Singaporeans daily. However, commuting on the bridge includes heavy traffic in the morning and evening time and with particularly bad traffic congestion over festive period.
Tan said “Congestion at both sides of the bridge had taken a heavy toll on commuters and tourists. Permanent solutions such as building a third bridge or rapid transit system will take many years to complete. However, operating a counter in or next to the Customs, Immigration & Quarantine Complex (CIQ Complex) to process tourists travelling in tour buses could be set up swiftly.”
“This initiative may significantly reduce commuting time and attract many tourists in Singapore to cross over to Johor Bahru or up to Melaka for sightseeing or overnight stay, confident that they will return to Singapore on time for their return flight. Easing the Second Link congestion through this initiative would encourage more Singaporeans to travel by tour buses to explore the east and west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.”
“Singaporeans form the largest number of visitors to Malaysia and those on holiday have the option to travel by tour buses and enjoy the many open spaces in our country. Unfortunately, many can be put off if they have to put up with perennial jams at the bridge.”
“And if one side of the bridge is smooth flowing for tour buses, the other side has to match or face bitter complaints from travellers. Many welcome signs are spotted by tourists in Malaysia and Singapore but the most sincere way of welcoming them is to facilitate their entry and not subject them to agony.”
“While congestion at the bridge is unlikely to end anytime soon, we can start by facilitating bona fide tourists travelling in tour buses with a tour leader, itinerary, passenger list, and rooming list for those staying overnight. Surely these tourists deserve better and we owe it to them to make them feel welcome.”
“MATTA is concerned over the current situation at the Second Link. It is imperative the relevant authorities revisit and redouble efforts in finding short, medium and long-term solutions concurrently. For the betterment of our tourism industry, we must”, concluded Tan.