Motorists driving across the border into Malaysia at the Tuas and Woodlands crossings may want to allow extra time for their journey.
Drivers and passengers, over the age of six years, will have to step out of their cars and place two thumbs on a scanner as part of stricter security at Singapore’s checkpoints.
Malaysia border security - enhanced measures
The new system has been in place for several months for those using bus, train, lorry and goods vehicles at land checks. Now car drivers and passengers will be subject to the same system.
Passports will still also be checked, and ICA (Immigration & Checkpoints Authority) says officers will be present at the BioScreen machines to help people use them and assist elderly passengers and those with special needs.
The new checks for motorists and passengers came into effect from September 25, 2017. At first, you’ll be required to give fingerprints at some vehicles booths only to get used to the new system. Eventually, all check point booths will be following suit.
What are the new security measures about?
Singapore is a global financial centre and, in the wake of international terror incidents, the Singapore authorities are tightening up security onto the island. It’s feared terror cells could plot their attack outside of Singapore and enter the country to carry out their plans. Around 400,000 people use Singapore’s land checkpoints every day making them among the busiest in the world.
Assistant Commissioner Chua Sze How, commander at Woodlands Command, explains;
The security of the country is of utmost importance to us. However, we will calibrate and adjust our implementation according to prevailing security assessments, and we will monitor the ground situation closely.
Extra security alerts
Singapore is not the only country to take extra precautions. The USA started scanning fingerprints of visitors in 2004 after the September 11 terror attacks of 2001. Japan, South Korea, Cambodia and Taiwan also scan.
Scanning fingerprints won’t be the last security measure introduced. New laws in Singapore have already been passed to allow the Government to scan the eyes of Singaporeans and PRs to collect their iris images. A new system to enable ICA officers to check our eyes is expected to be rolled out in the next two years.
For more news and motoring tips, look out for regular posts in this series.