JOHOR BARU: A single border agency for all of the nation’s entry points will cut down on waiting times and make travelling to Malaysia more efficient, says tourism groups which have described the current system as “primitive.”
Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said many other countries already had a single border agency.
“The setting up of a single border agency will help make managing our borders more efficient.
“Many countries already have such an agency and we are actually behind in this regard. What we currently have at our borders, where many agencies are handling the checkpoints, is a pretty primitive system,” he told The Star.
Leong, who is also Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman, said he hopes the government will not delay the formation of the much-needed agency.
“This is not the first time the idea of a single border agency has been brought up. It was put forward in the past but never implemented. I hope that this time, the government is serious about it.
“They should not come up with the excuse that it is too complicated since other countries, including Singapore, have done it.”
On Nov 8, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the Cabinet has chosen his ministry to lead the formation of the single border agency at the country’s 141 entry points.
The ministry has been given two months to work out the new agency’s structure and hierarchy and a detailed plan will be unveiled after a meeting with the ministry’s secretary-general and the Chief Secretary to the Government.
A pilot project at several entry points will start next year, Saifuddin Nasution had reportedly said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had announced the agency in his Budget 2024 speech and said that RM20mil had been earmarked for its implementation.
Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor chapter chairman Ivan Teo proposed that the two land Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complexes in Johor be involved in the pilot project.
“The Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) and Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar (KSAB) CIQs are among the country’s busiest land borders.
“There are also many agencies involved in manning these two checkpoints. As such, I believe it is a good place to start the pilot project,” he said.
If the pilot project can succeed at these two checkpoints, then it will be easier to implement it at the nation’s other checkpoints, Teo said.