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Johor Chief Minister announces deployment of additional immigration staff to address land border congestion

JOHOR, MALAYSIA— Johor Chief Minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi made an important announcement during a state assembly sitting on Thursday (15 June). He revealed that an additional 250 immigration officers will be deployed at Johor’s land border crossings by September 2023.

Onn Hafiz emphasized that these new staff members will complement the existing 100 immigration officers, which were previously announced.

This move aims to address the long-standing issue of congestion at the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex, Sultan Iskandar Building (BSI), and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (KSAB) checkpoints.

During the Johor state assembly, Onn Hafiz responded to questions from assembly members concerning the resolution of the congestion issue at the CIQ BSI and KSAB checkpoints.

He said the shortage of immigration officers is one of the factors contributing to the prevailing traffic congestion at the land checkpoints.

Mr. Onn Hafiz presented a set of immediate and short-term measures to alleviate traffic congestion while awaiting the commencement of operations for the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link in 2026.

The measures announced include the augmentation of passenger buses, traffic flow management, particularly in bus routes, repositioning of electronic gates (e-gates), and an increase in the issuance of M-Bike (Malaysia Biometric Identification of Motorbikes) stickers.

“The state government has chosen not to simply wait but has implemented immediate and short-term measures to address the issue that affects multiple parties while waiting for the RTS (completion) in order to overcome the congestion issue at land checkpoints.”

The Johor Chief Minister personally visited the CIQ BSI approximately 60 times

The Johor Chief Minister has been actively working to address the long-standing congestion issue at both land checkpoints. He personally visited the CIQ BSI approximately 60 times and the CIQ KSAB 14 times in his efforts to find solutions to the congestion problem

According to Bernama, Onn Hafiz also stated that one of the main reasons why the state government is eager to resolve the congestion issue at both CIQs is due to its impact on the economy of Johor and Malaysia as a whole.

He provided an example of JStar Motion, a China-based company that has established a factory in Johor with an investment value of RM300 million (approximately USD 65.03 million), creating 600 job opportunities.

Traffic congestion impact on the economy

“They (JStar Motion) have expressed their appreciation to the government for the smoother traffic flow between Johor and Singapore, and as a result, they will invest an additional RM100 million to expand their business here. They will also encourage their suppliers to open businesses in Johor,” added Onn Hafiz.

In addition, players in the tourism industry have reported that their businesses are thriving due to improved traffic flow.

“The improved speed in the tourism sector is highly anticipated and brings the long-awaited relief, especially after being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Onn Hafiz likened both CIQ BSI and KSAB checkpoints to the “heart” of Johor, explaining that a healthy heart effectively pumps blood throughout the body and keeps it in good health.

300,000 Malaysian citizens crossing both checkpoints on a daily basis 

It is widely known that nearly 300,000 Malaysian citizens use these two routes on a daily basis in search of livelihood. Typically, individuals who commute frequently have spouses and at least two children.

“This means that indirectly, this issue affects around 1.2 million Johorians, which accounts for 30% of the state’s total population.”

“…each wasted moment at the Causeway and Second Link due to congestion undoubtedly has an impact on the economy in terms of investment, trade, tourism, education, and property, ” Onn Hafiz said.

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