24 July 1998
Press Statement:Relocation of Singapore Customs, Immigration and Quarantine(CIQ) operations to Woodlands and arrangements for Malaysian CIQ for train service, 24 July 98
Since 1992, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) has worked with Singapore on re-aligning their railway tracks at Woodlands to dovetail with our Customs, Immigration and Quarantine operations (CIQ). The work is now completed and both the CIQ and the tracks are in place and will be operational on 1 August 1998.
Malaysia had agreed in September 1993 to relocate its CIQ to Woodlands when Singapore moves its CIQ to Woodlands. But in June 1997 Malaysia informed Singapore that it had changed its mind and decided not to co-locate its CIQ with Singapore's at Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) but to remain at Tanjong Pagar railway station.
Singapore will move its CIQ facilities from Tanjong Pagar railway station to WTCP on 1 August 1998. We have on several occasions informed the Malaysian Government of this. Singapore has also told the Malaysian Government that with effect from that date, Malaysian CIQ cannot remain at Tanjong Pagar railway station.
Malaysian and Singapore officials have met twice in Singapore, on 10 July 1998 and 17 July 1998, to discuss new arrangements for Malaysian CIQ.
At the 17 July 1998 meeting, Malaysia agreed that when Singapore's CIQ moves to WTCP on 1 August 1998, all KTMB trains will stop there for Singapore CIQ clearance.
At the 10 July 1998 and 17 July 1998 meetings, Malaysian officials expressed concern that there should be no disruption to KTMB train services. Singapore shares these concerns. Both sides have since agreed on the following interim arrangements in the interest of maintaining smooth train operations when Singapore moves its CIQ to WTCP on 1 August 1998:
a) Singapore will allow Malaysian customs officials to operate at Tanjong Pagar railway station. Singapore officials will be present at Tanjong Pagar railway station to lend their authority to Malaysian customs officials during the interim period.
b) Singapore has agreed to Malaysia's request to allow Malaysian Immigration to put some desks for its immigration officers on the passenger platform at WTCP to clear passengers after Singapore has cleared them for exit from Singapore. Singapore Immigration must clear departing passengers for exit from Singapore before Malaysian Immigration clears them for entry into Malaysia. Otherwise, the sequence of immigration clearance will be illogical and it will cause problems in crime investigation and prosecution. These interim arrangements will overcome the problems which would be caused if Malaysian Immigration were to remain in Tanjong Pagar railway station.
These interim arrangements for Malaysian CIQ will give time for Malaysia to present its legal arguments to establish its claim that they have the right to have their CIQ at Tanjong Pagar railway station.
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
24 JULY 1998