Immigration Dept working hard to ease congestion

JOHOR BARU: More than 27 million individuals crossed the Malaysia-Singapore border via the Causeway in the first five months of this year.

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh said those travelling via the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex could expect smoother journeys with several measures put into place, such as more auto gates, new formula in shift change and more manpower.

“Within this period, an average of 250,000 travellers go through BSI daily. This is a huge figure and a challenge for the department to come up with solutions to issues arising from this situation,” he told reporters after inspecting BSI’s operations here yesterday.

Currently, there are over 280 counters operating at the maximum level during peak hours with 66 manual counters and 70 auto gates at entry points, and 74 manual counters and 70 auto gates at exit points.

“We are in the midst of merging services such as Immigration clearance, Road Transport Department (JPJ) and toll payment using Touch ‘n Go under one counter.

“This upgrade involves 38 counters, of which works on 19 counters have been completed.

“Vehicles will not have to inch forward just to do the JPJ and toll payment as everything can be done at one place, which will save time and make traffic flow smoother,” he said.

Ruslin said another 20 auto gates would be installed at BSI by July while renovations at the bus hall would be completed by the end of this month.

The department, he said, had received good cooperation from the Johor government.

Congestion at the southern checkpoints has come under much spotlight lately, with Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi’s intensive push to improve services both at BSI and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (KSAB) in Iskandar Puteri by making regular spot checks, especially during peak hours.

On manpower issues at BSI, Ruslin said this would be addressed with the placement of 100 new recruits this month.

He said 231 new recruits would be completing their training course by May 21, with the majority assigned to BSI as well as KSAB by the third week of May.

“For now, our manpower is at 80%. At present, there are 1,074 Immigration officers and personnel at BSI but we still have 273 vacancies,” he said, adding the government had approved 700 new appointments for the department this year.

“Some of the new recruits will be stationed at KL International Airport in addition to BSI and KSAB. These three checkpoints are our main focus as they need more manpower,” he added.

The department, said Ruslin, was also looking at implementing a new shift change formula involving its personnel manning the counters at BSI and KSAB to ensure they remain operational at all times.

He said a quick response team had also been set up at BSI involving 20 officers and personnel from various units to help those on duty at the counters.

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