JOHOR BARU • Thousands of motorcyclists rushing from Malaysia to Singapore for work faced a second day of long queues at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex in Johor Baru yesterday.
The congestion was caused by eight faulty gantries at the automated "M-Bike" lanes, which were introduced to speed up immigration clearance for the approximately 100,000 Malaysian motorcyclists who cross the border into Singapore daily.
Motorcyclists had already endured delays on Monday, in a traffic jam which began at 6am and took three hours to clear. It left them fuming, with many impatiently sounding their horns.
One of the motorcyclists, Mr Muhammad Azman Mohd Khaled, 42, said he decided to turn back and return home instead. He said: "There were long lines of motorcyclists and the traffic flow did not improve for a few hours, which is why I decided to take a day off."
Another motorcyclist, restaurant manager Amy Chang, 38, said she had no choice but to brave the congestion. "The M-Bike system should improve the traffic flow but instead it's making it worse," she said.
Johor Immigration Department director Rohaizi Bahari blamed errant motorcyclists for damaging the gantries. He said some motorcyclists avoided having their passports inspected by tailgating other motorcyclists.
The system scans a radio frequency identification device sticker attached to a motorcyclist's passport and requires the motorcyclist to place his thumb on the reader before the gantry gate opens.
"The average time for going through an M-Bike counter is only one minute, but there are some irresponsible motorcyclists who do not have the patience and just barge through the inspection lane without providing their passports, which is a serious offence," Mr Rohaizi said. He added that there were also motorcyclists who did not register with the system but accessed the special lanes meant for M-Bike users.
Long queues were also seen in Gelang Patah, Johor, yesterday, as motorcyclists hoping to avoid the Causeway jam headed for the Second Link checkpoint to enter Singapore instead.
The automated system was introduced last November and was fully implemented last Thursday.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK