SINGAPORE: Malaysian authorities will consider reviewing the toll charges at the Tuas Second Link to ease traffic congestion at the Woodlands Causeway, Prime Minister Najib Razak said during a joint press conference following the 8th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat on Tuesday (Jan 16).
Mr Najib said that Malaysia was "attracted to a proposal" by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to review toll charges at Tuas Second Link to "make it more attractive" for commuters to switch from using the Woodlands Causeway.
"I did raise with Prime Minister Hsien Loong the need for us to look at the current congestion at the (Woodlands) Causeway and today, (there are) reports that during peak hours, especially during the festivities and school holidays ... people from both sides have to wait for as long as 3-4 hours to get clearance. And we both agree that we need to resolve this," said Mr Najib.
He added that Malaysia will "take back the proposal", communicate with Singapore and is hopeful that the two parties will be able to come to a decision "as soon as possible".
In a joint statement on the 8th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat on Tuesday, both leaders welcomed Malaysia’s removal of the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) toll effective from Jan 1, and Singapore’s matching of the toll reduction with effect from Feb 1.
The leaders also commended efforts by the immigration authorities from both countries to reduce congestion at the Woodlands Causeway and the Tuas Second Link, while ensuring both countries’ security requirements are taken into account.
The statement highlighted that between January and June 2017, a total of 26,318 Malaysian Automated Clearance System (MACS) applications were received, bringing the total number of applications to 676,768 since its inception in 2009.
Additionally, the statement said the clearance of motorcyclists traveling between the two countries "have been smoother" since the implementation of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA)’s BIKES II and the Malaysia Citizen Motorcyclist (M-BIKE) clearance arrangements in January 2017.
On Tuesday, the two countries signed a legally binding agreement to bring the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) one step closer to fruition.