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Malaysia says ready to add more counters, use technology to tackle congestion at borders

Malaysia says ready to add more counters, use technology to tackle congestion at borders

A view of the Causeway. (Photo: AFP)

RANTAU PANJANG, Kelantan: Malaysia's immigration department on Monday (Dec 24) said it was ready to add more counters and use technology to tackle congestion at the country's border entry points.

Doing so, however, would require discussions at a federal level as this involves various issues including that of cost, said the department's director-general Mustafar Ali during a briefing at the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security Complex in Rantau Panjang.

"We understand the problem and are always working towards improving the situation," he said. "We have come up with some plans because we feel the pulse of the people whenever there is a congestion.

"However, we will discuss further especially with the Home Ministry on how this can be realised."

The official pointed to the M-Bike System - an automated gantry system for motorcycles - at the Causeway in Johor as a way to tackle congestion.

"This system is what we are going to use on the motorcycle lane and InsyaAllah (God willing), it can be used to overcome the problem later," he said.

Heavy congestion at the Causeway was in the spotlight earlier this month. This was compounded by a bomb hoax, car breakdowns and rampant queue cutting, according to Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

READ: Bomb hoax, car breakdowns and queue-cutting aggravated Causeway congestion: ICA

Meanwhile, the director-general said that there were 138 human trafficking and smuggling case arrests in the state this year, mostly involving migrants from Myanmar.

Some of these have been resolved in the courts, while others are still under investigation, he said.

"We always ensure that enforcement measures are tightened and for every case to be settled within a short time,” he added.

Mustafar also said that passports that have been lost or damaged in floods would be replaced free of charge by the department, he said

“However, some procedures must be followed and the ‘free’ passports can only be exchanged in specific cases,” he added.

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