KUALA LUMPUR - A series of short-term measures will be implemented to reduce congestion at Malaysia's checkpoints, especially at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at the Causeway and the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ complex at the Second Link.
The measures were decided at the meeting of a Cabinet committee to study having a single agency at the national border and checkpoints on Wednesday (July 3), Malaysia's official news agency Bernama reported.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, it said.
According to a statement from the Deputy Prime Minister's Office, the meeting noted the congestion and management challenges at the Sultan Iskandar CIQ and the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ and agreed on infrastructure and system improvements needed.
In the short term, said Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, congestion will be managed through the reopening the Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) at the Second Link on June 19, floating a procurement tender for MACS, valued at RM9 million (S$2.95 million) by December, and by mobilising officers from the less busy counters to the more congested counters.
Other decisions were to open contra lanes for cars in which traffic flows in the opposite direction of the surrounding lanes; institute a compulsory overtime shift (7am to 8am) and to open all counters for the MBike automated clearance system for motorcyclists, the statement said.
In the longer term, the meeting also decided to increase the number of MBike counters for motorcycles going out of Malaysia, to include biometric exemption for visitors going out, to fill up 99 per cent of the Immigration Department posts and to seek Malaysia-Singapore bilateral cooperation for a single clearance.
Also decided was extending the use of the autogate for all foreign visitors, increasing the number of Customs scanning machines, increasing the number of lorry counters at Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ on a par with Tuas, the usage of hybrid counters, and the development of immigration integrated system with automation features.
"The meeting also agreed in principle that a study on a single agency to manage national border and checkpoints including ports should be implemented, as it is relevant to the current situation as well as taking into consideration all needs such as finance, manpower, logistics and other related laws," the statement said, according to Bernama.
It added that the Home Ministry had been tasked with carrying out the study. While the scope of the study would cover three domains, namely land, air and sea, the focus of the study at this stage is on land. The study will end by the middle of next year.
Wednesday's Cabinet committee meeting came after a Cabinet meeting last November noted that there was massive congestion at the country's checkpoints despite various measures taken.