Empty Causeway On First Day Of Malaysia’s Lockdown Contrasts With Jam-Packed Rush The Night Before

Usually Busy Woodlands Causeway Is Now Empty Of Travellers After Jam From Night Before Clears Out

It is a study in contrast. The Woodlands Causeway, which has been described as the busiest international land border crossing in the world, saw one of its busiest nights on Tuesday (17 Mar), as Malaysians scrambled to cross into Singapore before Malaysia’s lockdown started.

On Wednesday (18 Mar), however, it was a completely different scene.

For so many decades a hive of activity even before Tuesday night, the Causeway was eerily quiet on the first day of the lockdown — especially compared with the frantic activity of the day before.

Image sourced via AFPSource

An unprecedented sight along Woodlands Causeway

For many people, this would be an unprecedented — even historic — scene, a story they would be telling their grandchildren about in decades to come.

Besides 1 or 2 vehicles heading towards Singapore – non-Malaysians are allowed to leave the country during the lockdown – the road is practically free of traffic.

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The Tuas Second Link saw a similar scene of desolation.

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The Woodlands Causeway and Tuas Second Link usually cater to more than 400,000 travellers daily.

They have now shut down normal operations, reported The Straits Times.

Malaysians scramble to enter Singapore

On Tuesday, thousands of Malaysians working and studying in Singapore scrambled to enter the Republic before the lockdown took effect at midnight.

Many of them even made 2 trips — rushing back to Malaysia after they finished work to gather their belongings, and hurrying back to Singapore to beat the lockdown.

Image courtesy of AFP

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) told TODAY Online that more staff had been deployed at the land checkpoints in Woodlands and Tuas to handle the influx.

The ICA was also quoted by TODAY as saying:

The traffic situation at the land checkpoints is dynamic. The ICA adopts a multi-pronged approach in traffic management, which includes the flexible use of lanes for clearance of different types of vehicles.

Image courtesy of AFP

Many Malaysians resorted to walking across the Causeway as the gridlock showed no signs of letting up.

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Traffic slows down closer to lockdown

Closer to midnight, though, the traffic slowed down to a trickle, as the lockdown took effect.

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Calm reigned in the Causeway for the first time in decades.

Hopefully the lockdown is effective in stopping Covid-19

While we do admit it’s refreshing to see the Causeway empty for once, we know that it’s due to extraordinary circumstances, i.e. the Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia that has claimed 2 lives so far.

Singapore has also been affected by Covid-19, and while the lockdown has caused great inconvenience not only to Malaysians but to Singapore companies that have Malaysian employees, we do understand why such drastic measures had to be taken.

Let’s hope the lockdown is effective and manages to stem the spread of Covid-19 in the country, so the Causeway can get back to its bustling self again!

Featured image adapted from AFP and Facebook.

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