Foreigners entering Malaysia, including Singaporeans, will be able to use the autogate facilities to clear immigration at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the second terminal, KLIA2, from Monday.
Malaysian Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said travellers from “low-risk countries” can now use the autogates.
The move to allow more people to use the autogates will also help ease congestion at the airport’s immigration counters, which recently has seen hours-long queues and led to complaints from travellers.
Datuk Seri Saifuddin, speaking in Parliament on Monday, said: “Previously, the autogate facilities were limited to only Malaysians, but it will be opened to include foreigners, especially those from low-risk countries.
The countries are Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The move is expected to benefit 855,000 travellers entering Malaysia.
“With this, we hope to be able to ease the congestion, especially during the peak arrival period.”
Peak arrival periods are usually between 3pm and 11pm, said Mr Saifuddin.
However, Mr Saifuddin said later on Monday that international travellers who arrive outside the peak periods will not have access to the autogates. Instead they will have to go through manual clearance at the immigration counters.
The New Straits Times reported that it took each passenger less than 20 seconds to clear the autogate, which involves scanning of the traveller’s passport, followed by a facial recognition system clearance.
If the facial recognition process fails, travellers will be required to scan their thumbprint for verification before being allowed through.
According to the Malaysian immigration department, travellers must hold passports with a validity period of at least six months, and submit a digital arrival card three days before their date of arrival.
In November 2022, the use of the autogate facilities was extended to long-term pass holders, who can choose to use them to exit and enter the country.
Since Jan 20, Singaporeans have been allowed to use the electronic gate (e-gate) facilities at the two land entry points in Johor Bahru.
Singaporeans who want to use the e-gates must hold e-passports with a validity period of at least three months.
Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) also provides automated lanes for eligible Malaysians, who may be enrolled on the spot.
Since May 2022, ICA has implemented the Automated Clearance Initiative that allows eligible Malaysian citizens to be enrolled for the use of automated lanes at all checkpoints in Singapore.
Enrolment is done automatically during immigration clearance at the manual counters.
Travellers who are enrolled will be notified via their electronic visit pass (e-Pass) sent to their e-mail address provided in their SG Arrival Card submission.
Previously, eligible Malaysian citizens needed to approach the enrolment centres separately to be enrolled for the use of the automated lanes.