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Power restored at Johor Causeway checkpoint after hours-long outage causes queues, congestion

A power outage plunged the Sultan Iskandar Building (BSI) immigration checkpoint in Johor Bahru into darkness for at least 10 hours on Dec 5 and 6, earning the ire of Johor chief minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

In a Facebook post on Dec 6, Datuk Onn Hafiz said: “What happened is very troublesome for the daily users and an embarrassment for the state.”

He also posted a picture of a letter, dated Nov 27, featuring the letterhead of Malaysian electricity company Tenaga Nasional, which appeared to be a notice to expect power outages at the BSI and Customs Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) from 8pm on Dec 5 to 4am on Dec 6, due to maintenance works.

A video posted at 11.10pm on Dec 5 by a Facebook user in the Malaysia-Singapore Border Crossers group, shows a crowded BSI that appears completely dark but for lights located at the checkpoint counters.

According to a cross-border Telegram group, power at the complex was restored progressively from around 9.20am.

The outage also affected the CIQ’s electronic gates (e-gates) facilities.

Business development executive Alyssa Yong, who travels to Singapore to work five days a week, told The Straits Times that she arrived at the checkpoint at 7am with the power still down.

“It was very stuffy inside and I saw a lot of people U-turning back,” said Ms Yong, 25.

“The e-gates were down so we had to use the manual counters instead. The queue was long but (at least it was) moving.”

Ms Yong, who has been travelling to Singapore to work since February, said it took her about 30 minutes to get through the Johor checkpoint. Normally, it would take her only about 10 minutes.

“This is the first time I’ve encountered a blackout at the checkpoint. I was supposed to start (work) at 9am but I was still on the way to work at 9.15am,” she lamented.

Many other travellers also turned to social media platforms to document their experiences.

Facebook user Atiqah M. Li said “CIQ is dark like there’s a concert”, while another urged travellers “to be strong”.

The blackout appeared to have extended to the motorcycle lanes as well.

In a Facebook post at 11.14am, Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority informed travellers of heavy departure traffic at Woodlands Checkpoint due to tailback from Malaysia.

“Delays are expected and travellers are advised to check traffic conditions before embarking on their journey,” it added, also advising travellers to check its Facebook for updates.

A check of the live camera feed on the OneMotoring portal at about 12.30pm showed heavy congestion on the Causeway towards Singapore.

ST has contacted Malaysia’s Immigration Department for more information.

SingaporeJohor BahruCauseway