Posts Tagged ‘CIQ’

Johor Bahru CIQ Immigration Complex is Poorly Planned

June 14, 11

No duh! I mean, anyone who has followed the narrow, winding road up and down the CIQ hill can see how convoluted and unintuitive the design is. Seriously, too much money and no application of common sense – typical of big government projects.

I suggest that the way to ‘solve’ the issue ifs to upgrade the former immgiration checkpoint just at the start of the Causeway, then demolish the useless CIQ.

From The Star 14 June 2011:

Solve JB crawl chaos

WE are perplexed and saddened by the problems of the never ending queues, jams, and time consuming clearance at the Immigration check points in Johor Baru particularly during peak hours, on weekends and during festive and holiday seasons.

These have been highlighted by numerous travellers since the opening of the ‘New’ CIQ complex in 2008 but it has not been addressed satisfactorily by the authorities.

The cause of the problems has been fully explained by people like V. Kumar (The Star, June 9) in which he zeroed in on the slow clearing systems not helped by severely under manned counters.

We also feel that the CIQ complex is badly planned and does not facilitate speedy clearance.

This has caused a lot of problems to travellers, visitors, workers and even investors (and/or potential investors in the Iskandar Development area) etc. Just imagine over hundreds of thousand people trapped every day in these jams and you multiply that by the number of hours each of these people have to queue each day!

When will the authorities wake up before the CIQ in JB become infamously known as the worst managed Immigration entry point in this region!

We simply have no business wasting travellers’ time by our mismanagement/bad planning/inadequate facilities and ineffective procedures or corrective actions (looks more like the lack of it).

Even more disheartening is the badly introduced/ill-timed biometric finger scanning procedures that have resulted in total chaos.

Didn’t the authorities have a test run to study the impact for this procedure and how it will further compound the clearing/waiting time to an already bad and unresolved problem?

Travellers had to spend five to six hours due to the finger scanning procedures during the holiday seasons.

Even up to Sunday morning one of my friends spent three hours at Immigration, even though she was at the checkpoint at 7am.

We would like to appeal to our Prime Minister to have his walkabout at the immigration check points in JB during peak hours.

Can our Yang Berhormat observe the queue involved (up to 5-6 hours) that the poor travellers have to face and how much they are suffering and unjustifiably held to ransom by a bad system/management etc.?

Can we still rely on the Immigration authorities as they have not been able to solve the problem after so many years.

And they even recently said that the introduction of the ‘Biometric System cannot be blamed for the massive jams’.

We beg your pardon? What then is causing the increased clearing/queuing time?

One must, in our national interest, look seriously at the damage to our image, credibility, economy and downtime with this avoidable catastrophe that has caused severe hardship to a lot of people.

No cost is too big if you look at the cost of not solving the problem. And please, no more denials, excuses or delays.


Kuala Lumpur.

See also previous CIQ coverage at this post which has a roundup of all earlier posts.

Letter Complaining About JB Customs (CIQ) Lousy Service Standards

June 9, 11

Malaysia boleh!

I still remember the massive annoyance of, and my exploding RAGE at, Malaysia’s half-baked ‘upgrade’ of the immigration complex.

Previous CIQ coverage:

From The Star Opinion 9 June 2011:

Work flaw cause of jams

THE citizens of both Malaysia and Singapore greeted news of the opening of the new CIQ in Johor Baru with anticipation and hope.

When the day finally came we were awed by its scale and presence. However, since its opening there had been one nightmare after another.

I go through the Johor Baru CIQ daily during peak hours in the morning and in the evening. Since its opening in December 2008 until now, only 30% (or fewer) of the counters are open during peak hours.

Never have I seen all the counters open, even when the queue snakes all the way to the Singapore side of the Causeway. Too many times I have been caught in a traffic jam getting into Malaysia, only to find that it’s due to this.

The only time there isn’t any congestion at the JB CIQ is when the traffic gets bad on the Singapore side (i.e. not many cars are coming through to Malaysia).

The immigration counters are run like a normal 9am to 5pm office environment with no plans for handling peak hour, weekend, festive/holiday traffic.

Many times I have seen immigration officers just switch off the lights and walk out of the counters at the end of their shift, to the bewilderment of those in the cars, who are left standing high and dry.

There isn’t even an overlapping handover period between the officers in different shifts, the way the Singapore immigration officers do.

The Customs personnel also have a tendency to close all lanes and only open one or two lanes out of a dozen or so, with one officer stationed to check thousands of cars. This adds to the horrendous jams on the Causeway.

Why did the Malaysian Government spend so much money to build so many lanes and counters when these car lanes and counters are closed perpetually?

The situation has become so bad that these lanes have become permanent parking lots for the officers who work at the CIQ complex; you can see this is most prevalent on the way out of Malaysia.

To make matters worse, now there is a system whereby all visitors need to have their fingerprints scanned prior to entering and leaving the country. The reason given is national security.

While smugglers and terrorists just walk through the porous borders to the north of the peninsula and in Sabah and Sarawak, we, the genuine travellers and tourists are subjected to security initiatives that cause us to queue for six hours to just get our passports stamped.



Don’t forget the illegals entering through Kota Tinggi.

Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad to Propose to Cabinet, Reopen Old Customs Checkpoint at Causeway

January 20, 09

Took long enough for someone with some clout to realize this. And he actually went to take a look at the CIQ problems himself! RESPECT.

All the infrastructure is already there – and it’ll probably be cheaper to pay for a few workers there than for the police personnel currently posted at the CIQ bus waiting area.

Hurry up and implement it!

From The Star 20 Jan 2008:

CIQ woes to be brought to Cabinet

JOHOR BARU: Reopening the old Customs and Immigration complex to pedestrian traffic can be one solution to the long walk public transport users now endure at the new CIQ.

Another will be for public buses to drop off passengers at the main entrance to the CIQ, which is at the west side of the building.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said he would propose these and other measures to the Cabinet as soon as possible.

Green lanes: Shahrir at the new CIQ complex in Johor Baru Monday.

Shahrir, who is also the Johor Baru MP, was speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting with the relevant departments and authorities on the CIQ issues.

Among those present were PWD director-general Datuk Seri Prof Judin Abdul Karim, Works Ministry deputy director-general (development) Datuk Nasir Mat Dam, Gerbang Perdana managing director Datuk Yahya A. Jalil and PWD-Gerbang Selatan Bersepadu project director Zulkifly Nadom.

Currently, public transport commuters leave the CIQ through Johor Baru Central and City Square, requiring a long walk to the nearest bus stop.

Shahrir noted that another problem was the long and winding route from Johor Baru Central to the Immigration counters and then to the bus bay.

On the problems faced by traders in the city, Shahrir said they would be given the chance to rent a lot either at Johor Baru Central or within the complex.

“I am sure businessmen who had shops at the old CIQ and the areas nearby will want to get a lot in the new building or at Johor Baru Central,” he said.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said Johor was seeking approval from the Federal Govern-ment to build a new RM200mil medium-term link from the CIQ to the Causeway.

The link would allow motorists to drive straight to Singapore, he told reporters at the opening of Teo Seng Capital Bhd’s new RM40mil corporate office and production complex near Yong Peng.

He pointed out that the new CIQ was designed to cater for a bridge which would replace the Causeway, but the bridge project did not take off, hence the problems.

Previous CIQ posting at this link.

The Star: CIQ Teething woes to go up before Cabinet

January 6, 09

Teething woes? This freakshow was born a horribly deformed mutant for life, twistedly experimented on by designers who never will have to actually use their monstrous creation. Give us back the old Customs Checkpoint at the Causeway for pedestrians!

From The Star 6 Jan 2009:

CIQ teething woes to go up before Cabinet

JOHOR BARU: The problems pla­guing the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex will be brought to the attention of the Cabinet this week.

Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Samad said that after the discussion at Cabinet level he hoped to visit the site this month to see how the problems could be tackled.

“I have been receiving complaints, and I am aware of the unhappiness,” he said yesterday.

Among the grouses raised by the public are narrow roads, long queues at the complex, poor signage, traffic congestion, and dirty toilets.

The people have also complained about not being allowed to walk across the Causeway, while business owners have said the new complex had taken their customers away as travellers now bypass the city centre where they are located.

Vandals have also struck at the complex less than a month after its opening, cutting holes in a perimeter fence and posing a possible security breach.

One of those who are unhappy with the complex, Malaysian Indian Business Council president P. Sivakumar, described the new complex as a nightmare for travellers.

“Last week, five businesses including two moneychangers and a restaurant had to close down. We expect the situation to worsen,” he said, adding that the complex was badly designed.

Sivakumar suggested that the old complex be reopened for motorcyclists and pedestrians. This would bring 5,000 to 10,000 travellers into the city again, he said.

Johor Immigration Director Mohd Nasri Ishak said the problems raised were similar to glitches experienced at the old complex located near the Causeway, and he was confident the problems would be overcome soon.

“Everyone must adjust to the new complex. The situation will eventually stabilise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaakob said the police had not received any reports about the complex.

He added that he was not aware that the perimeter fencing around the complex had been vandalised.

Everyone must adjust to the new complex expect bigshots who will never have to queue for buses at rush hour, because they get police escorts with wailing sirens to bully their way through the traffic!!!!

Finally, we know the name of the person responsible for this arrogant mess!

May you have to travel in and out of Singapore by public transport at rush hour for six thousand days in a row, Zainuddin Yaakob!!!

My previous griping at here.

Mad Rush to Board Bus at CIQ

December 25, 08

From The Star 25 Opinions, Dec 2008:

From Malaysiakini letters 26 Dec 2008:

From NST Letters 5 Jan 2009:

Mad rush to board bus at CIQ

I HAD previously alerted pedestrians who intend to walk from the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex to Singapore that they would be in for a hazardous journey.

There is no dedicated lane for pedestrians, and the five-foot way along the vehicle road is more like a “two-foot way”, or even one or “no-foot way” at times. Therefore, the oddysey down the CIQ complex to the Causeway carries the very real risk of being knocked down by a vehicle.

I have good news and bad news: The good news is, we don’t have to worry about risking our lives to go to work each morning. The bad news is that walking from the CIQ to Singapore is now not allowed at all! Apparently, it is simply too risky.

It looks like everyone will have to take a bus from now on, no matter how long the queue. That said, I really must commend the staff at the CIQ bus waiting area.

On Wednesday morning, the huge crowd waiting in line for buses once again was became a free-for-all, squeeze-in-where-you-can melee. As usual, up to 12 or so lines were squeezed chaotically into two lines to board the buses.

Then one of the officers stationed at the area began shouting at people to form an orderly queue. He even took a hands-on approach by firmly, but not roughly, placing his hand on the shoulders of those in the fringe lines and beckoning them to the rear.

Soon the spread-out mob became an orderly double line, and you know what? Within minutes, even those at the back of the queue were boarding the buses. It’s amazing what some order and authority can do.

I really admire the guts the officers showed when they sorted out the mess.

However, the CIQ management really needs to give serious consideration to the traffic bottlenecks and especially the total neglect of pedestrians. Just because it is a long, long way to trek, the powers that be apparently decided that no one would even attempt it.

I am definitely not the first to ask that the old customs building be reopened for pedestrians only.



Previous CIQ complaint letters at Pedestrians Have it Tough at CIQ and Impose law and order on the JB Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex.

See also this The Star report, which may have been researched in response to all the complaints being sent in about the CIQ:

Stranded as walking banned at Causeway

JOHOR BARU: The new ruling barring people from walking across the Causeway has not only turned out to be an inconvenience but left some stranded in Singapore.

The ruling, which was implemented by Malaysia since the new Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex opened has now been adopted by authorities in the island republic.

With the ruling, pedestrians who were previously able to walk across the 1km causeway when there were massive traffic jams on either side are now forced to wait for public transport.

Many Malaysians, especially workers and students, have been stranded at the checkpoint due to the lack of buses especially during traffic jams and peak hours.

Student Cary Nyeo, 21, had to stay over at a friend’s house in Singapore on Dec 24 when she was unable to board a bus back to Johor Baru.

About turn: Pedestrians who are not allowed to walk across the Causeway have to turn back. This has caused delays and other inconveniences to them.

Nyeo, who is taking a management course in Singapore, said signboards had been put up at the CIQ informing people that walking was not allowed.

“I have seen people break the rule but it is really dangerous to walk across the border now with no pedestrian lanes available,” she said.

Secondary school student Jasmine Tee said the new ruling would extend her travelling time to and from school. The 14 year-old student of Woodlands Secondary in Singapore said she was worried she would reach home very late in the evening.

“If I have to attend extra-curricular activities, I will have to take public transport home,” she said.

“Previously, I would walk across the causeway during a traffic jam and reach home at about 8pm.”

Johor Immigration director Mohd Nasri Ishak said pedestrians were not allowed to walk across the border because it was dangerous.

Southern Johor School Bus Association vice-president Lee Sin Min said they had gone to the new CIQ to check out the place to familiarise themselves with the routes and procedures.

He said the waiting bays for buses were not enough.

Pedestrians Have it Tough at CIQ

December 19, 08

A friendly warning from someone who regularly walks the 30 minutes from the new JB Customs on the mountaintop to Singapore, and back again in the evening.

From Malaysiakini letters 19 Dec 2008:

From The Star Opinion 19 Dec 2008:

From NST Opinions 21 Dec 2008:

From Malaysia Today (with lots of choice comments at the link, one included in screenshot below):

Pedestrians have it tough at CIQ

I WOULD like to offer two friendly warnings to all travellers who are entering or leaving Malaysia via the new Customs and Immigration Quarantine Complex in Johor Baru.

First, when leaving Malaysia, you’ll be in for quite an odyssey if you plan to go on foot. There is apparently no dedicated lane for pedestrians all the way to or from the Causeway.

You’ll have to follow the vehicle roads and play “frogger” or “chicken” with motorists to cross the road at certain points as there is no raised pedestrian crossing or zebra crossing.

Second, upon returning to Malay­sia and after you have made it through the passport checkpoints, you will have a choice: turn left to walk to Johor Baru City Square shopping complex, or turn right and go down an escalator or stairs to a bus waiting area.

I have learned first hand that once you make that choice, you cannot change it.

Let’s say that you go to the bus area, but then want to try walking to the JB City Square due to a lack of buses.

If you try to walk back up the stairs, backtracking not more than 10 metres or so, you will be stopped by the guards who have orders not to allow anyone to return via the way they came. Maybe if you try walking backwards, they’ll make an exemption.

Instead, you have to walk back to the entry zone and go through the passport checkpoint all over again. At rush hour, it means you may have to queue behind some 50 people two times in a row!

The alternative is to simply walk along the road meant for vehicles, which again is full of risk.

By not providing any contingencies for pedestrians, the CIQ Complex is crippling the self-dependency and initiative of many Malaysians.



This is Frogger:

Frogger game

See also previous letters on the new JB Customs, at Impose law and order on the JB Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex.

Impose law and order on the JB Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex

December 16, 08

My gripe about my experience which happened today, with the new Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex (Bangunan Sultan Iskandar) in Johor Bahru that opened today, that was written up in word form today, and sent to Malaysia Today and Malaysiakini today. Promptness, the great advantage of New Media!

I doubt the relevant authorities will be reading Malaysia Today or Malaysiakini, however. They never do except to bash them.

From Malaysia Today:

Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex CIQ Bangunan Sultan Iskandar JB    Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex CIQ Bangunan Sultan Iskandar JB

Impose law and order on the JB Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex

On Tuesday, the 16th of December 2008, the new Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex (Bangunan Sultan Iskandar) began operations in Johor Bahru. As one of the thousands of Malaysians who commutes to work in Singapore daily, I was a firsthand witness to the new system.

Overall, I must say that I am impressed by the facilities of the CIQ Complex – and more so by the security and verification measures that the old customs system sorely lacked.

However, I have one very serious gripe that I hope the CIQ Complex management will immediately seek to rectify.

Once a bus passenger clears the passport check, the next process is to head back down to the bus waiting area to try and catch a bus. On a workday morning, this step is literally a descent into madness.

If any reader has ever taken a bus from Malaysia to Singapore at the old customs complex, they’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Just like always, the bus crowd becomes a literal rabid mob!


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