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UPDATE: 15 DEC 2008
THE new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex will be fully operational on Tuesday 16 Dec 2008.
JOHOR BAHARU - THE new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex will be fully operational on Tuesday 16 DEC 2008 and replace the Causeway checkpoint in the city centre. This means that all vehicles travelling to and from Singapore will have to use the new complex housed at Sultan Iskandar Complex in Bukit Chagar to get their passports stamped and Customs checks.
In addition, all vehicles coming from Singapore must use the Touch & Go cards to pay toll as they enter Malaysia. The Causeway checkpoint previously allowed toll payments to be done with cash and Touch & Go cards.
The RM1.3 billion (S$540 million) new building has 76 lanes for cars and 100 for motorcycles.
UPDATE: 05 June 2011
Chaos at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint
JOHOR BARU (Malaysia) - There was chaos at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint at the Sultan Iskandar Building (SIB) yesterday when the biometric fingerprint scanning system had problems coping with the huge number of tourists in light of the weekend and school holidays.
The security system was implemented just four days ago.
Tourists took at least 90 minutes to wait for Immigration clearance.
The delay had forced many of them to change or scrap their holiday plans.
There was a sea of people at the SIB's arrival hall and immigration clearance was reported to take as long as five minutes for each tourist.
This is five times longer than the Immigration Department's target of one minute per tourist.
A similar situation also occurred at the CIQ checkpoint in the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (SABC) at the Second Link, with most cars and buses taking about 150 minutes just to reach the complex.
Chiew Kok Leong, 48, who took a bus service from Woodlands, in Singapore, to attend a relative's wedding in Muar, said it took him nearly two hours to have his passport stamped.
"The long delay has upset my schedule for the day. I will be late for the reception."
S. Karasima, 55, who was with a tour group for a one-day visit to Malacca, said the group had to cancel the trip and go on a tour of Johor Baru instead.
"It is unreasonable to make us wait for so long for immigration clearance.
"Do you have any idea how tiring it was to stand for almost two hours just to get through Immigration?"
Checks with local tour guides showed about 60 tour coaches at SIB and 100 at SABC were affected by the delays. The number of tourists involved were 6,400; most of them Singaporeans and Japanese.
The biometric scanning system, introduced on June 1, requires foreigners entering and leaving the country to have their left and right index fingers scanned at entry and exit points.
It is a new security feature aimed at curbing transboundary crimes and terrorism threats.
Previously, tourists only needed to have their passports stamped.
The system has been implemented in 96 entry points in the country.
Malaysia Tour Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said the tourism industry suffered a severe blow as a result of the hiccup, adding that this had left a bad impression on tourists.
He said it was disappointing that the problem occurred during the school holidays, which was the peak season for the tourism industry.
"I will be writing to the Prime Minister's Department and Tourism Ministry to highlight the matter."
Elaborating on the severity of the situation, Leong said it took him three-and-a-half hours to wait for three coaches transporting Singaporean and Japanese tourists to get through Immigration.
"It normally takes about 20 minutes for each coach to pass through clearance at the SIB's CIQ checkpoint. Today, it took about 90 minutes. This excludes the time loss for each coach to reach the complex from the Causeway.
"My Japanese customers are so angry that they blamed me for not informing them about the situation at the checkpoint. They were supposed to reach Malacca by 12.30pm. However, they only managed to have their passports stamped at that time.
"Their one-day Malacca tour was scrapped as a result of the delay."
Checks from other tour guides revealed that many groups from Singapore had cancelled their tours today (Sunday) in view of the anticipated problems at both checkpoints.
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad urged travellers to be patient with the new security system.
He said travellers took a much longer time than expected to have their passports stamped and fingers scanned as the system was moving towards stabilisation.
"For some people, it takes only a minute. For others, it takes about two to three minutes. We welcome feedback and will improve the system as soon as possible."
Alias urged Singaporean motorists to apply for the Malaysia Automated Clearance System at any Immigration office for faster immigration clearance as the system would do away with the need to have their fingers scanned again after their first visit.
UPDATE:12 JUNE 2011
Commuters experience four-hour jam at Causeway
A video taken at the Tuas Checkpoint showed a long line of cars waiting to get into Johor Bahru. And the queue stretched all the way up the BKE on the Singapore side.
SINGAPORE: Commuters were stuck in a jam at the Causeway for over four hours on Saturday.
Since the biometric fingerprint scanning system was introduced by Malaysia on June 1, complaints have surfaced over longer waiting times to clear the checkpoints.
Motorists said the situation was made worse by the increase in traffic due to the school holidays.
Daily commuters working here and heading home to Malaysia said their travel time is now much longer.
UPDATE:15 JUNE 2011
S'poreans crossing the Causeway must make sure their passports are stamped when they enter and leave JB
SINGAPOREANS crossing the Causeway must remember to make sure their passports are stamped when they enter and leave Johor Baru, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The reminder follows past advice from the ministry that those travelling into Malaysia through the various entry points, including airports, must make sure they get their travel documents stamped at an Immigration Customs counter.
Singaporeans driving into Malaysia should also use the correct processing lanes by following the signs at the various checkpoints.
After their passports are returned by the immigration officer, they should check that they have been stamped.
If that has not been done, they should inform the officer immediately.
UPDATE: 5 FEB 2012
Motorists may have to pay five times more in toll charges along EDL
JOHOR BARU: Motorists using the Johor Causeway between Malaysia and Singapore may be forced to pay five times more in toll charges once it is implemented along the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL).
They will be forced to pay the toll even if they do not use the 8.1km EDL as the collection will be done inside the Customs, Quarantine and Immigration Complex (CIQ).
Presently, motorists using the Johor Causeway are only required to pay RM2.90 for cars during their return trip at the CIQ building.
The RM1.27bil EDL, which will help reduce congestion in the city area along Jalan Tebrau and Jalan Tun Razak, is linked directly to the North South Expressway.
It is expected to be opened in the coming weeks.
Sources said the toll collection proposed by the concessionaire, MRCB Bhd, was RM6.20 for cars one way.
“Besides the RM6.20 EDL toll, drivers will have to pay RM1.45 to PLUS Bhd. This means the total toll is RM7.65 one way, which works out to RM15.30 to leave and return to Malaysia,” they said.
The toll, to be cashless with the use of Touch’N Go, will affect about 70,000 to 100,000 local and Singaporean commuters each day. There is no toll for motorcyclists.
The EDL toll proposed for taxis is RM3.10, buses (RM5.00), light trucks (RM9.30) and heavy vehicles, including trailers, at RM12.40.
Describing the collection process as absurd, Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Samad said it would be unfair to those who did not use the EDL to travel to and from Singapore.
“How can you force everyone using the Johor Baru CIQ to pay the toll? I am not sure of the rate when it starts charging at the CIQ and this will cause a lot of unhappiness,” he said, adding that he hoped the Cabinet would carefully review the long-term implications.
Echoing Shahrir’s concerns, Stulang assemblyman Mok Chek Hou said he had already raised the issue twice in the Johor state assembly and at other events.
“This goes against the principle of toll collection of paying for what you use. Why must people travelling from the city into Singapore pay for the toll too?” he said.
Mok also expressed worry that although the project could help reduce traffic jams along major roads, poor implementation would mar the Government’s image.
UPDATE:10 MARCH 2012
No toll charges for motorists who don’t use EDL
JOHOR BARU: Motorists who do not use the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) will not be required to pay toll charges, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the Government was finalising some technical issues and would make an announcement in two weeks, adding that the Government was aware of public concern.
“Those who do not use the EDL should not be required to pay toll,” he said in his speech at a 1Malaysia dinner last night.
“We will resolve this issue. Do not worry, we hear the people’s grievances.”
It was previously reported in The Star that the 8.1km EDL, which is almost completed, would force motorists travelling to Singapore via the Johor Causeway to pay about five times more than the present RM2.90 paid for both ways to PLUS Bhd.
Motorists had to pay the proposed RM6.20 toll charge if they enter the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex using routes other than the EDL since the toll booths would be located within the CIQ.
A trip to and from Singapore would mean RM15.30 for the journey.