KUALA LUMPUR: The use of the automated entry system (autogate) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) will be expanded to include travellers from “low-risk” countries such as those from Singapore and Brunei, Malaysia’s Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said on Monday (Feb 27).
The autogate facilities were previously only used by Malaysians when entering and exiting the country.
Local media the New Straits Times (NST) reported Mr Saifuddin as saying that the move was to address congestion due to long queues at the immigration clearance checkpoint.
“The Immigration Department is extremely concerned over the long queues at our entry points, especially at KLIA … as our entry points are the first impression of our country to the foreigners,” Mr Saifuddin was quoted as saying by NST in parliament.
Aside from Singapore and Brunei, an infographic posted on the immigration department’s Facebook page on Monday identified travellers from Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United States and the United Kingdom as those who are eligible to use the autogate facilities.
Mr Saifuddin on Monday told parliament that he hopes the latest move can help to ease congestion at the international airport, adding that the peak period at KLIA is between 3pm and 11pm daily.
On Saturday, NST reported that tourists arriving at KLIA had waited between one and three hours to go through immigration clearance, leaving many annoyed with the delays.
"I don't understand what's taking them so long to simply verify and stamp the passports," said one tourist who had waited for one and a half hours to clear immigration.
Last month, Malaysia opened up the use of electronic gate (e-gate) facilities to Singaporeans entering the state of Johor via the two land checkpoints - Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints.
Mr Saifuddin said then that 20 more e-gates would be opened at the Causeway checkpoint, on top of the existing 20 gantries placed at the entry and exit routes.
He added that the move would benefit between 30,000 and 50,000 Singaporeans who visit Johor Bahru for social purposes.