Why hasn't recurring problem of congestion at land checkpoints been solved?

It is heartening to know that Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam is taking a keen interest in the congestion problem (Checkpoint officers working their guts out: Shanmugam; Dec 28). I also appreciate the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers for their hard work.

As Mr Shanmugam noted, such congestion has occurred in previous years. During non-holiday seasons, congestion at the land checkpoints has also been the norm for years.

It seems that manpower shortage is the root cause of the problem.

As this has been a problem for years, it is hard to understand why it has not been solved for so long.

Perhaps the ICA can let the public, especially the users of these checkpoints, know what measures it has taken over the years to alleviate the manpower shortage.

Such problems do not seem to exist at the air and sea checkpoints, where immigration processing is a breeze compared with the land checkpoints.

It is very frustrating for land checkpoint users to see unmanned booths while they are stuck waiting for their turn.

Perhaps the ICA can consider employing some excess staff permanently to deal with increased demand in times of congestion.

The additional cost can probably be justified by the amount of fuel saved and the air pollution avoided.

Gan Chin Kian

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Why hasn't recurring problem of congestion at land checkpoints been solved?'. Print Edition | Subscribe