Thursday, June 23, 2011

Of MACS And A Surprising Immigration Officer

"...Tolong tengok autogate MACS, autogate MACS, rosak."

A female immigration officer was calling for s.o.s. at the other end of the line at about 8.30 Tuesday morning, two days ago.
I could not believe what I heard and what I saw as My passport was being verified by another officer sitting at her post in-front of the caller within the working booth.

Then when I looked over at the mentioned autogate, GOD, at least one of the three white elephant autogates at that special lanes set up for MACS holders was finally in operation again.
Wasn't that fantastic?
Two positive incidences in the early morning sure is a good sigh ahead as I was on My way to visit the late Ustaz Taha's graveyard.

******

The development of Iskandar region led to another development, the Malaysian Automated Clearance System (MACS), developed to cater fast-track immigration clearance for investors.

The system was finally open to all residents from the Island Republic sometime in April 2009, who had earlier been issued with the relevant long term immigration pass and frequent travellers within Malaysia and Singapore.

Authority hopes MACS helps to enhance border integrity with the utilisation of the combination of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and biometric verification technology.
The authority was confident that this would ease the congestion at both Customs, Immigration and Quarantine in Bukit Chagar and the Second Link.

Thus 100,000 stickers that costs each applicant RM30 for a yearly fee was already prepared for those who were interested in using the MACS.

Even if more Singaporeans apply for the sticker embedded with a RFID chip, clearance at the check point will definitely still flowing smoothly.
It will still expedite clearance at the checkpoints.

Long queues are norm at the checkpoints but timing is crucial for frequent Causeway and 2nd Link daily travellers.

Buntings were put up at strategic locations around the CIQ Bukit Chagar to spread information relating to the system to ensure that more people were aware of the facility.

I was approached and adviced many, many times to take up for it by the immigration officers on duty.

Yes, others, and immigration officers too, wonder although I had already put up in JB close to 30 years, never even once had I applied for permanent residency.
Until today, I do not see the need to apply for it.
But yes, I renew my RM90 Social Visit Pass yearly.

After a few more advise from the immigration officers, I know could not be too stubborn, so the long process of getting one began.
When MACS was first introduced to ordinary frequent travellers, application was only via online.

After several days of failed attempts, I went to see the processing officer at the MACS One Stop Center at the CIQ building in Bukit Chagar, only to be told that the url shown was wrongly printed.

After being provided with the new ones, I was told to apply online again.
Again I could not access the website, as the internet connection and loading was really bad.

For the third time I was told to apply online.
When I told the officer that I almost gave up, then one of them decided to do it on My behalf.
So, I am one of the MACS holder too, since August 2009.

I realised while waiting for My application to be approved, there were many applications from mainland China too.

Honestly, it is good for frequent travellers to apply for MACS, as there will be no more white cards to be filled.
Passport usage will be prolonged too as there is no more entrance and stamp needed.

MACS was supposed to be just touch and go through the checkpoint.

The fast-track facilitation system was supposed to take less than three seconds of users' time to get through the immigration checks.
Users just has to swipe the passport onto a scanner before placing his thumb onto a reader to pass through special entry and exit MACS lanes.

If what was earlier informed, gazetted and printed out was the truth and the truth is honoured, MACS holders are supposed to benefit faster immigration autogate processing.

Alas, at any given time, since the first day I became the user, not all the three autogates were in operation.
But that's quite ok if I trade-in the hassle of no more white cards to be filled.

At least there was one scanner in operation, although it was always the guessing game, guessing which one of the three was usable, as there was never an indication or any notes in place that the autogate or the scanner was down.

Everytime I travelled by Myself, I had to make a wild search for the functioning scanner as officers were never helpful, even if their working station was just beside the all the time down, down, down the special 3 lanes for MACS holders.

There were many times I approached them asking about the 'all the time' down autogates and scanners, to which their reply were usually,  

'dia memang macam gitu.'
So it was like that all the time!!!

But the bunting to remind MACS holders to go to lane 18 was never removed elsewhere although the lanes were never in use for more than a year.

I went back queuing at lanes meant for white card users, sans the white card.
And the officers on duty never once asked why not passed through the designated lanes after all the money spent for the installation of the necessary infrastructure with thumbprint readers.

I wonder if the two companies assigned to administer the autogates are still operational, as  

“Dua syarikat berkenaan adalah Hi-Tech Padu Berhad yang bertanggungjawab dalam kerja penyelenggaraan dan Iris Corporation Bhd. yang mereka perisian sistem itu sudah berjanji untuk melaksanakan tugas mereka dengan baik.
“Malah, mereka juga menyatakan kesanggupan ditamatkan kontrak sekiranya berlaku sebarang masalah pada sistem itu.”

quoted from Utusan, March 3, 2010.

The two companies were given three months for upgrading the country's 125 autogates, including Johor Bahru.

******

Even after it was reported in Utusan in April 5, 2010 that the number of autogates were added to the already existed at the CIQ building in Bukit Chagar, the MACS autogates remained indifferent. 

"Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Changi, Singapura telah dipilih sebagai lapangan terbang terbaik dunia tetapi mereka kalah kepada kita dari segi Jabatan Imigresen.
"Kejayaan ini merupakan hasil usaha berterusan Jabatan Imigresen untuk memberi perkhidmatan terbaik kepada setiap pengguna,"

Well said.

****** 

MACS Di Tambak Johor Gagal?
TO SINGAPORE WIT LUV
Bangga melalui CIQ Sultan Iskandar yang baru walaupun sudah kelihatan ada kerosakan yang berlaku; jalan berlubang, jalan tidak rata, palang keluli kaunter sudah rebah.
Dari atas jambatan bengkok yang saya banggakan itu sudah kelihatan lampu kereta dari arah Woodlands, sepanjang tambak hingga ke CIQ kita, sangkut tidak bergerak.
Kenapa ia berlaku? Sepatutnya dengan kemudahan berbilion ringgit menggunakan wang rakyat, perkara ini perlu dielakkan.
Ini adalah imej negara, pintu masuk dari selatan yang berjiran dengan negara maju sepatutnya mesti sangat efisien dalam urusannya.
Pagi Sabtu esoknya pukul 6, saya berbual dengan isteri sebelum balik ke Johor Bahru. Saya ceritakan kesesakan yang berlaku malam tadi.
Kata isteri saya, masalahnya ialah kerana ramai yang tidak menggunakan Sistem Kawalan Automasi Keluar Masuk Malaysia (MACS). Isteri saya biasanya menaiki bas ke Johor Bahru, dia diperlukan mengimbas dua jari telunjuk untuk masuk ke Malaysia, perlu tunggu pelekat dicetak dan ditampal pada pasport, itulah punca sesak di tambak dan CIQ Malaysia.
Pagi itu saya mengalami sendiri keadaan ini, berderet kereta di kaunter pemeriksaan. Kelihatan ramai pelawat keluar dari kereta berpendaftaran Singapura untuk mengimbas jari telunjuk mereka, sesak lagi.
Bayangkan jika satu MPV memuatkan tujuh orang (itu yang belum kapasiti 12 orang dan kebanyakan warga Singapura menggunakan MPV), semua kena keluar untuk imbas jari mereka di kaunter yang direka bentuk untuk laluan kereta sahaja.
Bayangkan masa yang diperlukan untuk urusan ini. Betul-betul lambat, rimas dan melecehkan.
Persoalannya? Adakah mereka yang bertanggungjawab dalam mengendalikan sistem ini tidak nampak, ambil ringan dan tidak berfikir dengan fikiran yang logik betapa sistem yang tidak relevan ini semakin membuat Tambak Johor sesak teruk, (walaupun dicanangkan ia hanya mengambil masa 1 minit 20 saat bagi seorang pelawat) mereka seharusnya boleh berfikir kerana mereka bekerja di situ setiap hari.
Tiadakah pegawai peringkat tinggi yang terlibat dapat memberi maklum balas dengan keadaan ini.
Mereka seharusnya tahu, ini adalah laluan pemeriksaan Malaysia-Singapura, dengan pelawat dan trafik kenderaan berpuluh ribu sehari, keadaan pasti berbeza dengan mana-mana CIQ yang lain.
Sepatutnya sistem ini semakin membantu walaupun dikhabarkan sistem ini sangat bagus.
Bagus kalau lambat dan tidak relevan tidak berguna juga.
Itulah yang sepatutnya difikirkan sebelum sistem ini dibeli dan digunakan.
Dipendekkan cerita. Pada saya sebagai pemerhati dan isteri sebagai pelawat, sistem ini adalah gagal dalam memudahkan urusan serta menjadi kritikan sinis dan gelak para pelawat.
Paling yang tidak digemari ia menjejaskan imej negara, itu yang pasti.

Source: Utusan - June 7, 2011

******

Although the writer above drove his car, and I travelled on public transport, but that was the level of frustration one can have, after billions spent.

Technology and infrastructures already in place were not only fully utilised, not only under used, but not used and not appreciated at all.

Luckily for the recently introduced scanner system, rectification was quick.
Just given the extra extension to the biometric scanners, congestion had been cut, and no more? holding snaking traffic.

****** ****** ******

After alighting from the bus from Singapore, I swerved to the extreme right from the escalator.
I walked straight to the MACS lanes, eager to use the 'reusable at last' scanners when I reached CIQ Bukit Chagar, but had forgotten for a while the way to do it.

After was shown the way to scan My passport by a man, I asked him since when the autogates and the scanners were operational.
He said it was just recently after the much brouhaha at the CIQ.

So, there is always a blessing in disguise.

But he assured Me, things will repeat itself, it's a cycle, a normal cycle.

But I hope lesson has been learnt, and everybody concerned, learnt it well.

Although there were some 12.7 million Singaporeans visited Malaysia last year, with 330,000 day trippers, the 100,000 MACS stickers are yet to be taken up.

To the female immigration officer whom I should have noted down her name, but too shocked seeing her initiative for calling the maintenance, your effort is acknowledged here.

Your calling s.o.s. is much appreciated, and a very BIG THANK YOU for doing your job!  

14 comments:

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Ummi, for a moment thought you posted about Apple Macs, ha ha.
Looks a good idea too.
Back in the 70s, 80s, I used up 3 of those blue passports for Singapore entry....in and out almost every week, or few days.

Incidentally you in JB, is that Straits view restaurant/hotel still there? And Mechinta Nightclub?
Love JB...
Best regards.
Lee.

Ummie said...

straits view I think is still around, but mechinta was closed many years ago.
still thinking of the bygone era, Mr Lee?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic content in addition to convenient that will understand story.
Just how can Which i start gaining agreement that could organize part
inside article in doing my coming bulletin? Offering a favorable credit
record ranking on your any writer as well as hyperlink into the
site is not going to manifest for a challenge.

Here is my website silver jewellery

Anonymous said...

We have a Dell 5110CN printer that was being used at our switzerland office (different voltage.

) We have given that delivered the printer
to our Canadian office yet it will not electric up. I was informed
that we need to convert the voltage setting on the power
provide but i can easily not locate it. Do you know where this switch is on the printer?


Here is my web-site; xerox phaser 8560 ink

Anonymous said...

Hello just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of
the images aren't loading correctly. I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
I've tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

Here is my web blog ... xerox 8560 specs

Anonymous said...

It works! Which's actually wonderful that you published this info ... I can easily not claim the very same for Samsung that is suggesting something they did not test!
Delighted brand-new year!

Also visit my web site: blog.dailytrader.com

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and many thanks for sharing the truly amazing tips!


My homepage: ,Jewellery Discount Shop Co Uk

Anonymous said...

i need motorist HP Color Laserjet 2605.

My web page ... xerox phaser 8560 drivers

Anonymous said...

Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading
through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects?
Thanks a ton!

Here is my weblog; buy LG 42LS5600 [lg42ls5600.blogspot.co.uk]

Anonymous said...

No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, thus he/she desires to be available that in detail,
therefore that thing is maintained over here.

Also visit my webpage ... UK hosting

Anonymous said...

Hello any one have exact same problem, I have the laser printer HP keeping up my
HP Compaq, it is a shade laser printer, times its
printing black and white. Why, what occurred?

Look into my page ... xerox phaser 8560 color printer (http://pattyh09.blogspot.co.uk/)

Anonymous said...

I have recently started a site, the information you offer here has
helped me tremendously. Appreciate your all your time & work.


Feel free to surf to my web-site ... ,cheap wood earrings ()

Anonymous said...

Please sir, deliver me the vedio clip on how to utilize printer for pcb.
Many thanks.

Feel free to visit my homepage: xerox phaser 8560mfp

Anonymous said...

Hey very nice blog!

Here is my weblog: xerox 8560 service manual