There is no clandestine tactic to hinder Malaysian voters in Singapore from travelling home to vote in the November 19 general election, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi told The Star today.
He was responding to Opposition claims that the current suspension of the autogates at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex was an underhanded election move.
“In fact, we want people to have an easy mode of travelling,” he was quoted as saying.
The 43-year-old Onn Hafiz said that when he first took office in March, there were 1,200 work orders pending at the CIQ complex, and explained that the suspension was necessary to upgrade the facilities.
“I have personally visited the complex a few times. Now, the work orders have been reduced to about 100,” he was quoted as saying.
Several of the immigration autogates at the Malaysian-Singapore border were suspended on October 16, shortly after Parliament was dissolved on October 10.
The suspension is expected to last until November 10.
The CIQ complex officials issued a notice on Facebook explaining that the move was to repair and upgrade the facilities. It added that not all autogates were affected and that travellers could use the manual counters to clear immigration.
The Star also cited Johor state executive councillor Mohamad Fazli Mohamad Salleh, in charge of works, transport and infrastructure, as saying that the upgrading works is to increase the number of autogates at the complex.
He added that the work started in May and is expected to complete in February next year, explaining that some of the systems installed at the complex had to be imported from countries which were still under the Covid-19 lockdown previously.
He also said there are 18 counters open to pedestrians, including a designated counter for senior citizens, pregnant women, the physically disabled and those who hold Malaysian permanent residency status. – MMO