Thursday, June 16, 2011

malaysiakini and Travel Problems on Both Sides of the Singapore Causeway.....

The Malaysian CIQ in Johor Baru has been in the news lately; all for the wrong reasons.....not only are foreign visitors subject to hours-long queues with the new biometric scan system but 2 women were even arrested.
You can read about their ordeal in malaysiakini's Immigration forced S'pore duo to do 'nude squats'".
Before the multi-billion ringgit CIQ was completed, such an incident would not have happened as the Immigration officer also collected the toll. Nowadays, we have an automatic gantry that is activated by your Touch n Go card.
I guess what happened to the 2 women was that the immigration booth was unmanned and the green light was on with no physical closure of the lane with the usual red plastic cone.
This incident would not have occurred if the toll gantry required an input from the immigration officer that the passports have been processed. It would not have cost more than RM50 for such a control mechanism to have been planned into the system. It would have consisted of a touch switch that activated the toll collection system.
This single incident plus the tens of thousands of man-hours in queues would have negated all the hard work done to attract tourists and investments into Johor.
This biometric scanning system seems to be poorly conceived and badly implemented; especially for the Johor-Singapore crossings.
The travel problems in Singapore pale in comparison but nonetheless needs some airing.
I took my wife's car to a car wash and took out the cash card as a precaution. Of course I forgot to put it back after the job was done. Bad mistake.....I drove past the ERP gantry and got a long beep that told me I had entered the CBD without paying the toll of $1.50. My wife told me the fine was $8.00 which is more than 5 times the actual fee. ERPs are supposed to manage traffic flow but the fine is really rather high. A more acceptable rate is to fine the driver two or three times the fee.
After all the system is computerised and not paying a $0.50 toll is different from failing to pay a $2.00 toll. So different penalties would be fairer.

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