JOHOR BARU, June 19 — The Johor Immigration Department today opened applications for the new Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) — the scanning device that offers a hassle-free entry to Johor — for visitors entering Malaysia.
However, its implementation will only be valid for foreigners who are long-term social visit pass holders at the Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar (KSAB) Customs, Immigration and Qurantine facility on the Malaysian checkpoint at the Second Link crossing in Tanjung Kupang here.
In a Johor Immigration Department notice, Singaporeans or other foreigners with long-term social visit passes can apply for the new MACS from today at the Malaysian Immigration MACS office at the Iskandar Regional Development Authority at #G-01 Block 8, Danga Bay in Jalan Skudai here.
“Please take note that the MACS facility can only be used at KSAB,” stated the notice which was in Malay and English, referring to the particular border crossing where the automated clearance system can be used.
MACS uses a sticker that is embedded with an RFID chip that is attached to a passport and scanned upon entry and departure from Malaysia. This eliminates waiting time and also makes do without the Malaysian immigration passport stamps.
It was learnt that the new MACS system will be improved from the previous one where it will cater only to Singaporeans or foreigners with long-term social visit pass holders.
The system will only cater to genuine non-Malaysian investors, business persons and professionals.
Malay Mail reported last August that more than 500,000 Singaporeans and other foreigners have been registered with MACS.
However, the system was prone to abuse as a majority of visitors were not long-term social visit pass holders, investors or property owners in Johor.
Due to the MACS weaknesses, there have been cases of Singaporeans and foreigners entering Malaysia through Johor and travelling from the state to take flights out of the country without getting their passports endorsed.
The reintroduction of the system for the target groups follows the end for those previously registered with the MACS system that ceases this month.
The state KSAB operations task force chairman Cheo Yee How said he has been notified by the Johor Immigration Department that the MACS application had restarted today and will only be implemented on the Malaysian side of the Second Link crossing.
He expects about 10,000 foreigners who are mainly Singaporeans with long-term social visit passes and property in Johor to apply for the new MACS initially.
“The reintroduction of MACS is timely as this will hopefully assist in some ways to ease the traffic congestion on the Second Link crossing as it eliminates waiting time and also makes do without the Malaysian immigration passport stamps,” Cheo told Malay Mail when contacted.
Cheo, who is also Perling assemblyman, added that the previous system was criticised for its purportedly weak security measures as well as being abused by Singaporeans and foreigners.
“However, I have been told that the new MACS system has been improved and is synchronised and connected with the passport clearance system,” he said.
The MACS system, introduced in 2010, was lauded at first as it also coincided with the development boom of south Johor into what is now known as the Iskandar Malaysia zone.
The MACS system was initially one of several measures to strengthen transport connectivity to both sides of the Malaysian checkpoint along the Johor Causeway and Second Link.
However, the previous system had its problems such as not having biometric scanning as well as being prone to abuse by Singaporeans and foreigners who travel out of Johor.