‘Allow overnight parking for guides’

A motorcyclist riding past the Mbike lanes at KSAB in Iskandar Puteri. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

Tour guides are appealing to the Home Ministry to allow them to park at Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar (KSAB), the Second Link entry into the country, for more than just one day at a time.

They said prior to pandemic times, they could park at the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) complex without a time limit, making overnight trips easier and safer.

Anne Molly Camoens, 66, said she and other tour guides currently had to park their vehicles at the rest and recreation (R&R) area about 1.5km from KSAB.

“We have been parking at KSAB for years without any issues and also previously paid an annual fee of RM50 to its management.

“However, things changed two years ago. We are only allowed to park there if we are coming back on the same day.

“When we have overnight trips, we need to park at the R&R and find ways to get to the KSAB to meet with our tour groups,” she told StarMetro.

Camoens, who is also Johor Tourist Guides Association honorary secretary, said tour guides also opted to walk to KSAB from the R&R despite the danger and distance.

“If the tour bus is coming from the Malaysia side, we may have the driver pick us up from the R&R, but if they are coming from Singapore, we will need to look for other ways.

“If we are lucky, we could get a lift from buses heading towards the building. Otherwise, we will have to walk, rain or shine while hauling our luggage,” she said.

She said following a meeting with officials in March last year, they were told they could park at a mosque near the back entrance of KSAB, but this has now changed.

“The mosque is still quite a distance from our meeting point, and we still had to walk along a quiet road, but it is better. However, a few days ago, we found out that we can no longer park there.

Camoens says tour guides have to park at nearby R&R and walk.Camoens says tour guides have to park at nearby R&R and walk.

“Initially, we were told it was just for three days during Hari Raya. Later we found out that we will not be able to park there even after the festive season,” she said.

Another tour guide, Christina Wong, 64, said they were disappointed with the situation.

“As tour guides, our responsibility is to promote the country and help boost the tourism industry.

“Both the federal and state governments have made remarks about the significance of tourism industry players, yet this is how we are being treated,” she said.

Wong said her main concern was safety, as she would have to either walk along a dark, lonely road or a busy highway to get to KSAB.

“If we cannot get any transport, we have to walk. Having to walk through the hot sun and rain is one thing, but safety is another issue.

“If we were to walk through to the main entrance of KSAB from the R&R, we would have to walk along a very busy highway with many heavy vehicles.

“However, if we were to walk and enter through the back entrance, from the R&R or the mosque, we would be vulnerable to snatch thefts and other dangers, especially when it is dark at night or early morning.”

Echoing the sentiment was another tour guide who only wanted to be known as Aishah, who added that it was expensive to use ehailing services to get to KSAB.

Wong is worried about the safety of those who walk to KSAB.Wong is worried about the safety of those who walk to KSAB.

“Most of us live in Johor Baru, pretty far from KSAB which is located in Gelang Patah.

“If we were to use ehailing services, we would have to fork out an extra RM50 or even up to RM90 one way.

“It also does not make much sense to cite security concerns as the reasons for us not being able to park there overnight, as we are already allowed to park for day trips.

“All of us also carry security passes issued specifically for KSAB. If there are any additional regulations we have to adhere to or fees that we have to pay, we are more than prepared to do the necessary,” she said.

When contacted, a Home Ministry spokesperson said the step was taken to enhance security.

“We have also allowed them to park at the mosque, which they should be able to continue to use after the festive season.”

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Tour guides , KSAB , parking , bus


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