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     MOT comments on Malaysia's plan to temporarily close causeway to heavy vehicles



          We received an official notification on 21 December 2006 from the Malaysian Government informing us of the temporary closure of the Causeway to heavy vehicles and the diversion of these vehicles to the Second Link.  However, we note that Malaysian Works Minister Datuk Seri Samy Vellu's reported comments to the media on 18 January 2007 regarding the dates and period of the proposed temporary diversion differ significantly from those mentioned in that earlier notification. We have therefore written to seek clarification from the relevant Malaysian authorities on this matter, as well as to seek further details about the proposed diversion.

          The proposed diversion will have material implications for both Malaysia and Singapore. Besides obvious operational adjustments for traffic and checkpoint operations at the Second Link and the Causeway, users of both land links can expect delays and higher costs as a result of the proposed diversion. It will be necessary for Malaysia and Singapore to work together to minimise the disruption to the traveling public, as well as tourist and trade flows.  We have therefore requested the Malaysian Government to hold consultations with us at a technical level as soon as possible to work out the modalities of the proposed diversion and we look forward to their response.

On Singapore¨s part, a multi-agency group has been looking at appropriate measures to minimise the impact of the temporary diversion. In view of the anticipated increase in traffic volume at the Second Link, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and the Land Transport Authority are making preparations to redeploy resources and adjust traffic flows at the checkpoint.  In addition, we have been seeking feedback from industry on the impact of the diversion on their operations.  These preparatory and mitigating measures will take time to implement. It is therefore important that this be taken into account in deciding on the timing of the temporary diversion.  We hope to coordinate our efforts with the Malaysians to responsibly manage the proposed diversion.

Issued By:        Ministry of Transport, Singapore

Immigration & Checkpoints Authority

Land Transport Authority

Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority

Date:            25 January 2007

Source: Press Release 25 Jan 2007