5 things to take note of when driving into Malaysia

Singaporeans love travelling. In fact, skyscanner did a study and found that the top emerging cities for Singaporeans were :

Berlin, Germany

Moscow, Russia, and….

 

Kuching, Malaysia

Perhaps the top 3 destinations above may seem abit odd to you, especially since one would guess that Singaporeans would like to travel to typical places like Melbourne, Sydney, New Zealand, Thailand etc.

However, the study shows an interesting insight, in that 71% of singaporeans cited rest and relaxation as a key motivator for travel. Perhaps singaporeans are overworked and feel stressed out, resulting in them finding a calm and quiet place to escape to once in awhile.

 For a lot of Singaporeans, a good, near and cheap place to relax would be … you guessed it, Johor Bahru.

 JB is connected to Singapore via 2 causeways, and everyday, thousands of singaporeans and malaysians use these causeways to work, play or relax.

 If you are driving into Malaysia, it is relatively straight forward. However, there are a few things to take note of before you depart, to make your journey smoother. After all, the last thing you want is to have all your plans for the day ruined just because of a small oversight.

 

 1. Check for traffic jams

I believe you are already aware of this step, but it’s worth mentioning again. The checkpoints are super busy everyday, especially during peak hours. Personally, I use the ‘beat the jam’ app - which shows the traffic conditions on both the causeway and second link areas on both the Singapore and Malaysia sides.

 Other sources to check for the traffic situation would be :

SGCustom  (super useful telegram group), Checkpoint.sg  or OneMotoring  

Another simple tip is simply to use google maps, and turn on the ‘traffic’ filter, which can help you get an idea of the traffic at the checkpoints.

woodlands checkpoint traffic

woodlands checkpoint traffic

2. Check your fuel !

You might already know this, since there have been videos of kiasu Singaporeans rocking their cars back and forth to get more petrol into the tank going around. For Singapore registered cars, (both petrol and diesel) always check that your fuel tank is at least ¾ full.

 The penalty of attempting to drive into Malaysia with less than ¾ tank of fuel is :

1) up to a $500 fine

2) summoned to court

3) U-turn at the checkpoint.

Nothing is worse than getting caught, getting fined, and being forced to u-turn back to Singapore to fill your tank.

3. Check your cards

We are referring to your cashcard, and touch n go card. Trust me, it’s super leceh if your cashcard doesn't have enough value to pay the toll at the checkpoints. Best is to just top it up first before going in.

Speaking of which, ensure your touch n go card has enough value. You can do this by downloading the touch n go app, and linking your existing TnG card to it, and it will show you your balance in real time. Pretty sweet !

Links to the app on Google Play Store here, and App Store here.

a very handy app

a very handy app

4. Make sure your car is in working order

Imagine having your car breakdown while queuing in the midst of all that jam at the checkpoint, and having the walk of shame as you await a tow truck to get you out of that mess.

Lots of Singaporeans travel to jb specifically to get their cars serviced, but do ensure that your car can at least makes it across the causeway! If you are unsure or doubtful, perhaps you should just visit a workshop in Singapore to save you the time and effort in case something happens to your car mid-way through the journey.

5. If you’re a foreigner driving a foreign vehicle, read this :

Since April 1, 2019, Singapore has started denying entry to foreign vehicles with outstanding fines for traffic, parking or vehicular emissions offences.

This follows a joint press release  on February 1, 2019 where authorities warned commuters to settle their outstanding fines. As of February 2019, there were about 400,000 fines due from drivers of foreign vehicles, worth S$32 million. Do you think the govt will let $32 million worth of revenue slip away ? Hell no !