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Faster immigration clearance at Johor Bahru’s CIQ

JOHOR BAHRU - About 2,300 vehicles are now able to pass through immigration clearance within an hour at the Johor side of the Causeway, following some short-term measures implemented by the authorities.

Immigration Department’s director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said there had been improvements at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex after the Quick Response Team (QRT) measures were put in place on Feb 6.

“The QRT, a short-term initiative implemented by the government to improve congestion issues, offers solutions like training and placing immigration staffers at checkpoints to man the counters, especially during peak hours,” he said.

Previously, about 1,400 vehicles passed through the immigration clearance in an hour.

“Now with QRT, we can process up to 2,300 vehicles within the same period given that the motorists and passengers do not have clearance issues and have sufficient balance in their Touch ‘n Go cards,” said Mr Khairul after visiting the BSI CIQ on Sunday.

“Visitors who enter Johor via bus can also enjoy faster immigration clearance time now that Singaporeans are also allowed to utilise the e-gate feature, which was previously limited to Malaysian passports,” he added.

“It used to take the authorities about four to five hours to clear the visitor arrival hall, which has a maximum capacity of 3,000 people. That time has now been shortened to about three hours to complete the same process for the same number of people.”

Mr Khairul said allowing Singaporeans to use the e-gate at the CIQ had contributed to the overall improvement, though not many were aware of the new privilege.

Since the e-gate was allowed for Singapore passport holders on Jan 20, only about 16,000 Singaporeans have used the feature, much lower than the department’s targeted 35,000.

Flyers would be handed out starting this week to create more awareness about the feature among Singaporeans, especially day trippers who visit Johor for shopping and other recreational activities, said Mr Khairul.

The QRT was first implemented at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2 with a total of 45 personnel before 71 personnel were placed at Johor’s CIQs at the Causeway and Second Link to overcome the problem of overcrowding and traffic congestion.

“Under the QRT initiative, the department’s staff from other units are trained and assigned to man checkpoints, but rest assured that it will not affect our standard operating procedure and workflow,” said Mr Khairul.

“We are also training more staffers to extend the initiative to the Bukit Kayu Hitam (Malaysia-Thailand) and Sungai Tujoh (Malaysia-Brunei) checkpoints soon, but the numbers will be smaller as those CIQs are not as big as the ones in Johor.”

Mr Khairul said another 20 e-gates would be added to BSI to provide more convenience.

“We expect the infrastructure to be completed by March for the necessary installation and tests of the system to run for it to be ready within a month and a half,” he added. - THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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