Sunday, 27 May 2018

(The Star) CIQs in need of urgent overhaul

JOHOR BARU: The two land checkpoints between Malaysia and Singapore need a major overhaul, especially its infrastructure inclu­ding gantries, speed breakers and CCTVs, say transport security sour­ces.

Almost all the booths at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex and Kompleks Abu Bakar at the Second Link do not have came­ras to monitor motorists and hundreds of Immigration staff at work there.

It is learnt that both the CIQs handled an average of 100,000 vehicles daily, including motorcycles, and that the lorry counters did not even have gantries or signages to inform the public that the lanes were closed.

Security sources said some of the 11 entry and exit lanes for lorries cannot be utilised due to design defects.

As such, some lorry drivers pass these without scanning their passports.

Besides the Immigration Depart­ment, the Customs Department is also facing problems.

It does not have adequate scanning machines at both the CIQs, resulting in bottlenecks.

The sources said the Customs scanners broke down often.

“All these are causing the long traffic lines.

Johor immigration department director Rohaizi Bahari. 

“This issue of CIQ problems at both our land crossing needs to be resolved as soon as possible,” he said.

The sources hoped for more enforcement to curb smuggling.

Johor Immigration Department director Datuk Rohaizi Bahari admitted that there were challenges faced by his personnel at the CIQs.

“You cannot expect my men to stand outside the booths stopping every vehicle as this can be dan­gerous,” he said.

About 1,500 personnel are manning both CIQs connecting Singa­pore, he added.

A Customs official said: “We should have a proper border security agency similar to Singapore that can be a one-stop agency as many government agencies are involved at the moment.”

Last month, Pan Malaysia Lorry Owners Association president Tan Boon Siong said some lorry drivers would just drive into Singapore without producing their passports as they were exasperated with the long wait for Immigration clearance.

These drivers claimed that they often had to wait up to 30 minutes and that sometimes, they would even have to alight from their vehicles to look for Immigration officers if the booths were unmanned.