Long wait at Johor customs for tour buses a drag for tourism
ISKANDAR PUTERI (THE STAR) - Singaporeans who were keen on spending a relaxing time in Malaysia were disappointed with the slow traffic flow at the Second Link on Saturday (June 18).
Despite leaving Singapore as early as 7.30am, the group that boarded a tour bus to visit Melaka had to wait for over four hours for immigration clearance at the Malaysia checkpoint, said tour guide Henry Gomez.
"They were frustrated not only because of the long wait but also as they could see that public and factory buses were given priority at the immigration clearance while tour buses were told to make way.
"It is extremely unfair and could also tarnish the reputation of our tourism industry to visitors who are looking forward to spending their time in Malaysia.
"The authorities should not allow this to continue," he told The Star.
Mr Gomez, who was the guide on board with some 11 passengers from Singapore said that only one out of the two lanes for buses were opened for immigration clearance on the day of the incident.
"This caused a very slow crawl. The authorities should open up all counters at both lanes in order to give travellers a smoother ride.
"There will be a durian tour between June 25 and 26 where a total of 50 buses are expected to ferry passengers from Singapore to Johor.
"If the situation persists, I believe we will see a longer wait and more frustrated visitors," he said.
Among those on board was a Singaporean who only wanted to be known as Ms Teo, who said that she had to cancel some of her plans due to the slow traffic.
"I thought that we could have reached Melaka by noon but unfortunately, we were still stuck at the Second Link at that time.
"I had to cancel my meetings with my friends and some of the other passengers also had to cancel their tickets for some tour activities in Melaka.
"I frequently travel across the border even before the pandemic but this is the first time I have had such an experience," she said.
Meanwhile, Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman Jimmy Leong Wie Kong said that the problem needed to be solved immediately to avoid dragging down the country’s tourism sector.
"I hope that the state government is aware of the situation and will seriously look into the management of our entry points with solutions.
"The authorities should find better ways to clear the tour buses, which are carrying tourists who are coming to spend their money here.
"The first impression at the entry point has killed the millions of ringgit we have spent on promotion and marketing the state and the country," he said.