Motorcyclist lining up to use the ‘Secured Automated Clearance System for Malaysian Citizen Motorcyclists’ (M-Bike) lanes at Johor’s Causeway and Second Link checkpoints. Pix by ZULKARNAIN AHMAD TAJUDDIN.
Some of the motorists waiting to enter Singapore from Johor’s Causeway and Second Link checkpoints. Pix by ZULKARNAIN AHMAD TAJUDDIN.

GELANG PATAH: Heavy congestion experienced by motorcyclists at the new ‘Secured Automated Clearance System for Malaysian Citizen Motorcyclists’ (M-Bike) lanes at Johor’s Causeway and Second Link checkpoints is merely a teething problem.

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, who visited the Sultan Iskandar Building Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint before heading to the Sultan Abu Bakar Building CIQ here today told reporters that the congestion is unavoidable.

"It is a matter of 'getting used to it’. Motorcyclists have to be more patient and disciplined," he said.

Mustafar said 36 motorcyclists flouted the rules on Monday, which was part of the problem.

"There are also cases of (motorcyclists) who do not provide their passports when placing their thumbs on the reader for the gantry gate to open.

"There are cases of motorcyclists who go into other lanes.

“There was even a case of a motorcyclist who collided with an Immigration officer," he said.

The Immigration officer sustained slight injuries and the motorcyclist was detained.

"In Singapore, these motorcyclists can turn off their engines and push their motorcycles for 3km during jams at the Causeway – but when they come back here, they have no patience, and would sound their horn at the slightest delay," Mustafar said, adding that 100,000 motorcyclists have already registered for M-Bike.

He urged motorcyclists to refrain from blaring their horns as that only adds to the frustration of other motorists.

M-Bike, which was introduced in Nov, became fully-operational on Feb 15.

"The system was tested for two months and it had gone smoothly. The Sultan Iskandar Building has 100 M-Bike counters, 50 of which are for inbound travel, 50 for outbound,” he added.

The system aimed to benefit 60,000 motorcyclists who cross the Sultan Iskandar Building to the Causeway and 30,000 who use the Second Link daily.

M-Bike was introduced to reduce congestion experienced by motorcyclists on the Malaysia-Singapore border by 50 per cent.

But on Monday, there was massive congestion between 5am and 7.30am.

Today, the situation at the Causeway is slightly better, as some motorists decided to head to the Second Link.

Among them was R. Batmanathan, 36, a motorcyclist met at the Gelang Patah Rest and Recreation Area, who decided to try the Second Link instead of the Causeway.

In the end, however, Batmanathan dropped his plan to go to the Republic.

Batmanathan, who has been working in Singapore for the past seven years, said things are getting worse.

"It used to be a breeze going into Singapore via the Second Link in the good old days. Now, it is only slightly better than using the Causeway.

"I notice that in Singapore, the car lanes are opened up to motorcycles, if the motorcycle lane is jam-packed.

"Over here, if there is congestion, nothing is done to ease it. You just need to wait in line.

"But we are late for work. Not only by a few minutes, but by hours. We are not being impatient. We just want to get to work on time," he said.