Non-compliant S’poreans blamed for congestion at Malaysian land checkpoints despite use of e-gates

Long queues at the checkpoint seen in assemblyman Andrew Chen Kah Eng's Facebook post on Feb 28, 2023. PHOTOS: ANDREW CHEN KAH ENG/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans continue to face peak-hour congestion and long wait times at Malaysia’s two land checkpoints six weeks after e-passport holders were allowed to use electronic gates (e-gates) – with reported knock-on effects on Malaysians using these facilities.

Previously limited to Malaysian passport holders, e-gates were extended to Singapore users from Jan 20 to reduce human congestion at both the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar and Sultan Abu Bakar checkpoints in Johor Bahru, which connect to Woodlands and Tuas respectively.

The congestion is because Singaporeans are not aware of the steps they need to take before using the e-gates, said Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen Kah Eng.

Singaporeans who want to utilise the e-gates require an e-passport with three months of validity and submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) online three days before travel. First-time users are also required to verify their biometric data at the immigration counter. 

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mr Chen said many Singaporeans would try to use the e-gates without applying in advance for an e-passport or MDAC, holding up the queue when they try to get clearance and fail repeatedly.

He added that many Malaysian residents had come to him with complaints about the long wait times.

“They tell me: ‘It wasn’t that congested before, but it’s really congested now’.”

In his post, Mr Chen called on Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs to “retain a specific automatic customs clearance system for Malaysians, and gradually upgrade the automatic customs clearance system to improve the overall customs clearance process”.

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