KUALA LUMPUR: The option to use the autogate facility will be extended to foreigners from low-risk countries in order to ease congestion at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
The Home Minister told the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Feb 27) that the government was concerned by congestion at the country's entry points, especially at KLIA.
He added that rather than be in denial or make excuses, the government was taking immediate steps to ease the situation in KLIA.
"We admit that there are some issues and several measures are being taken.
"For instance, reopening of the use of all the autogate facilities in KLIA.
"Previously it was just for Malaysians but will now include foreigners, especially those from low-risk countries such as Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand or the G7 (Group of Seven) countries," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Mumtaz Md Nawi (PN-Tumpat) during Question Time.
Mumtaz had asked the Home Ministry about the steps taken by the Immigration Department to ease congestion at the country's entry points as there were complaints that clearance could take up to three hours.
The Star reported that travellers and tour operators had urged Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to put up prominent signboards to alert passengers to the limited aerotrain service schedule at KLIA.
They said the situation at the airport has been “chaotic” during peak periods due to the reduced aerotrain operations.
Many also took to social media about the long waiting time to clear Immigration at KLIA, and several other airports around the country.
Saifudin hoped the move would ease the congestion especially during peak arrival times between 3pm and 11pm daily.
"That is among the quick solutions... we will be taking a few other measures shortly," he added.
"The peak time is where flights arrive between three and four minutes apart.
"This is why Immigration clearance takes some time. The most important thing is that we are finding solutions," he said.
On a separate matter, he said a total of 20 passport issuing offices, apart from the Urban Transformation Centres (UTC), will operate seven days a week to address the rise in demand for passport renewals.
"The government has allocated a total of RM10mil for the overtime. We suggest that applications to renew passports are made online," he added.
He also said a total of 2.5 million passports had been issued from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 up to Monday.
"Of the total, 45% of applications were done online," he noted.