QR codes to ease Johor causeway jam [NSTTV]

JOHOR BARU: The perennial congestion at the Johor-Singapore Causeway — acknowledged as the world's busiest land crossing — will be alleviated when the Quick Response (QR) Code Immigration Clearance System is implemented this year.

The system, slated to roll out in phases from June, is expected to reduce Immigration clearance time by half for the 400,000 travellers passing through the checkpoints daily.

Sources told the New Straits Times that the QR clearance system will be implemented at both land checkpoints in Johor, namely the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) in Johor Baru and the Second Link Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar (KSAB) in Gelang Patah.

This will make Johor the first state in Malaysia to implement the system at its international checkpoints, following in the footsteps of countries such as China, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Germany, and Singapore which have implemented the system.

It is understood that the system will require travellers to create a profile and generate an individual or group code via a system managed by the Immigration Department that will enable them to use their smartphones to self-scan the QR code instead of having their passports processed.

The average processing time per passport is currently three minutes. The QR code system will halve that time. The Immigration Department currently uses its website to manage entry applications, including for entry permits and arrival cards.

The NST learnt that the system's implementation was among the issues discussed during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's visit to Forest City, Johor, last Thursday.

Johor Immigration Department director Baharuddin Tahir, when contacted, declined to elaborate but said the Home Ministry was expected to make an official announcement on it soon.

Efforts to contact Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail for confirmation were unsuccessful at press time.

Technical glitches and infrastructure complexities had previously hindered efforts to tackle congestion problems at the Johor -Singapore land border.

This led to travellers, in some cases, waiting for hours for Immigration clearance, especially during peak hours, weekends and holidays despite Singapore's Woodlands' Immigration Customs Authority being located a mere 5km away from the BSI.

According to the Works Department data, the BSI Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex was established in 2008 and projected to handle 400,000 travellers by 2025. That mark, however, was reached in 2022 — two years ahead of schedule.

Despite having more than 300 Immigration inspection counters at BSI and over 200 at KSAB, the volume of motorists had exceeded the complexes' capacity.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, when contacted, said the state government was open to federal initiatives aimed at reducing traffic congestion.

"If the QR clearance system proves to be effective in alleviating congestion at our land checkpoints, it should be implemented without delay," he said, adding that if proven effective, it should be implemented at the BSI and KSAB facilities.

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