Malaysia taking more measures to tackle congestion at Johor checkpoints

Motorists at Woodlands Checkpoint. A Cabinet committee in Malaysia is considering having a single agency at its border and checkpoints to reduce traffic congestion at the country's border with Singapore.
Motorists at Woodlands Checkpoint. A Cabinet committee in Malaysia is considering having a single agency at its border and checkpoints to reduce traffic congestion at the country's border with Singapore.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

KUALA LUMPUR • A series of short-term measures will be implemented to reduce traffic congestion at Malaysia's border with Singapore, 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, both in Johor.

The measures were decided on Wednesday by a Cabinet committee that is considering having a single agency at the border and checkpoints, Malaysia's official news agency Bernama reported.

The meeting was chaired by Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

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 the infrastructure and system improvements that are needed.

Short-term measures to tackle congestion include reopening the Malaysia Automated Clearance System (Macs) at the Second Link and mobilising officers from the less busy counters to the more congested counters.

Other decisions were to open contra lanes for cars to allow traffic to use lanes designated for opposing traffic during peak times, institute a compulsory overtime shift from 7am to 8am and open all counters for the MBike automated clearance system for motorcyclists, the statement said.

In addition, a procurement tender for Macs, valued at RM9 million (S$3 million), will be issued by December.

In the longer term, the committee also decided to increase the number of MBike counters for motorcycles leaving Malaysia, have biometric exemption for visitors going out, fill up 99 per cent of the Immigration Department posts and seek Malaysia-Singapore bilateral cooperation for a single clearance procedure.

 
 
 
 

The committee also agreed to extend the use of the autogate for all foreign visitors, increase the number of Customs scanning machines, increase the number of lorry counters at Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ to be on par with the number at Tuas in Singapore, use hybrid counters as well as develop an integrated immigration system with automated 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 has been tasked with carrying out the study.

While the scope of the study will cover land, air and sea, it will focus on land at this stage. The study will be completed by the middle of next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysia taking more measures to tackle congestion at Johor checkpoints'. Print Edition | Subscribe