Six short-term measures to address Johor checkpoint congestion

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Six short-term measures will be implemented to handle the congestion at the country's checkpoints especially at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex and the Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ (KSAB) complex in Johor.

The measures were decided at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee to study a single agency at national border and checkpoints including ports today chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail with the primary agenda of trade facilitation.

According to a statement from Deputy Prime Minister's Office, the meeting also took cognizance of the congestion and management challenges at the BSI CIQ and KSAB (Second Link CIQ) as well as agreeing on infrastructure and system improvements to overcome congestion at the two checkpoints.

She said the implementation of the short-term measures to address the congestion are reopening the Malaysia Automated Clearance System at KSAB on June 19; procurement tender for MACS valued at RM9 million by December; mobilisation of officers from less congested counters to more congested counters.

Also decided were opening contra lanes for cars; compulsory overtime shift (7 am to 8am) and the opening of all counters for MBike, the statement said.

In the long term, the meeting also decided to increase the number of MBike counters for motorcycles going out of Malaysia; biometric exemption for visitors going out; filling up 99 per cent of the Immigration Department posts and Malaysia-Singapore bilateral cooperation for a single clearance.

Also decided was extending the use of autogate for all foreign visitors; increasing the number of Customs scanning machines, increasing the number of lorry counters at KSAB on par with Tuas; usage of hybrid counters; and the development of immigration integrated system (IIS) with automation features.

"The meeting also agreed in principle that a study on a single agency to manage national border and checkpoints including ports should be implemented as it is relevant to the current situation as well as taking into consideration all needs such as finance, manpower, logistics and other related laws,” the statement said.        

It said the Home Ministry has been tasked with carrying out the study as the secretariat while the scope of the study would cover three domains namely land, air and sea and the focus of the study at this stage is on land. The study will end by the middle of next year.

According to the statement, based on initial findings, there are three optional proposals for the single body which can be implemented namely coordinate and integration (reformative concept), New (transformative concept) and Combination (Transformative concept).

"The single agency proposed is to facilitate trade while strengthening enforcement, security control and coordination among agencies,” it said.

The Cabinet Committee followed the decision of the Cabinet Meeting on November 16 last year which stated the massive congestion at the country's checkpoints especially at BSI CIQ which is still going on despite various measures taken to tackle the issues. - Bernama

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