Immigration counters at Johor Baru checkpoint often unmanned, say Malaysian lorry drivers

Some Malaysian lorry drivers have complained that they often had to wait up to 30 minutes and sometimes alight from their vehicles to look for immigration officers when the booths were unmanned.
Some Malaysian lorry drivers have complained that they often had to wait up to 30 minutes and sometimes alight from their vehicles to look for immigration officers when the booths were unmanned.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Some Malaysian lorry drivers have complained about unmanned booths and long wait times for immigration clearance at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Johor Bahru.

The drivers claimed they often had to wait up to 30 minutes and sometimes alight from their vehicles to look for immigration officers when the booths were unmanned.

Pan-Malaysia Lorry Owners Association president Anthony Tan Boon Siong said the lorry drivers were unhappy with such "service" and some have resorted to driving on to Singapore without producing their passports because they were rushing to deliver goods.

Since last week, Tan said that at least 20 drivers were stopped and detained for about 24 hours during special immigration operations at the CIQ for such offences.

While the association did not condone such an action by the drivers, Tan said the Immigration Department should ensure its counters were manned all the time.

"You cannot expect drivers to wait at the booths for up to 30 minutes or go around looking for an Immigration officer to stamp their passport," he said.

The association members, he said, claimed that it had been happening for some time, especially during the wee hours of the morning.

Tan said there were only six counters at the checkpoint for lorries travelling out of Johor.

Meanwhile, immigration officers arrested a driver and lodged a report against him several days ago allegedly for posting a video of unmanned booths at the Johor CIQ on Facebook. The video has since gone viral on social media.

An officer, when contacted, said they are carrying out an internal investigation. The immigration officers who were missing from their booths without valid reasons would face disciplinary action, he said.

However, the officer also stressed that lorry drivers must have their passports scanned before exiting Malaysia or risk severe action.