More can use autogate

Facilities expanded to Chinese and other nationals

PUTRAJAYA: China, which is among the top five nations when it comes to tourist arrivals in Malaysia, is on a list of 36 additional countries whose citizens will be allowed to use the autogate facility for immigration clearance beginning June 1.

“This move is expected to not only ensure faster and smoother clearance at our entry points, but will also help boost tourism,” said Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

Other countries on the list include Taiwan, Hong Kong, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Canada and European Union countries.

Currently, travellers from 10 countries – Australia, Brunei, Germany, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United States and United Kingdom have the option to use Malaysia’s automated entry system or autogate.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Saifuddin Nasution gave his assurance that the country’s security would not be affected by this move.

“I must emphasise that the use of autogates by foreign travellers will not affect our security as information about them will still be captured and recorded,” he said.

The move, he said, was meant to minimise congestion and waiting time for immigration clearance.

Saifuddin Nasution said measures to ease the long queues and waiting time at immigration counters had to be taken as the number of arrivals was on the rise.

He pointed to the 40 million who had entered Malaysia between Jan 1 last year and April this year.

From the figure, 30.5 million entered the country via KLIA Terminal 1 and 2, as well as the entry points in Johor Baru.

To a question, Saifuddin Nasution said his ministry would not be seeking a reciprocal move from these countries for now.

“Our focus now is to ensure those arriving in Malaysia experience a smooth immigration clearance process. We will consider later in the future if we want reciprocity,” he said.

The Home Ministry would discuss with the Transport Ministry on the need for airport authorities to put up signs informing travellers of this facility.

He said airlines would also be asked to inform their passengers of this latest service.

Saifuddin Nasution added that members of the diplomatic corps as well as their families would also be allowed to use the autogate facility, and his ministry was working with Wisma Putra on the matter.

“This is important as next year, Malaysia will be the chair of Asean. There will be a lot of meetings to be attended by not just leaders but also government officials.

“We want to see how we can (make it easier for) them,” he said.

Saifuddin Nasution said the ministry was also looking for ways to ease congestion at land checkpoints in Johor, namely the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) and Second Link Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar in Gelang Patah.

Several initiatives have been identified, including the use of a quick response (QR) code Immigration Clearance System, he said.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Nigel Wong, when contacted for his views about the government’s latest move, said: “This will not only improve efficiency at entry points but also elevate the image of Malaysia as an accessible, friendly and attractive tourist destination.”

It would add to Malaysia’s appeal as a tourist attraction especially in the lead-up to Visit Malaysia 2026, he said.

“Ease of travel is high on the list of priorities for most travellers. Both business and leisure travel will benefit greatly from this facility,” he said.

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