Minister: Long queues 24-hour Malaysia-Thai border operations will be resolved soon

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during an interview in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during an interview in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

BANGKOK, June 22 — Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah today said the long queues at the at Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Bukit Kayu Hitam and Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Sadao on June 18 was bound to happen given that it was the first day of 24-hour operations.

“Of course this is important to be looked into... we just started the 24-hour operations and the long queue suggest that the move is welcomed.

“There are several matters that need to be looked into and I expect it to be discussed and solved at operations officers’ level first,” he said.

Saifuddin was commenting on a New Straits Times report today that reported motorists, especially lorry drivers, were left stewing in their vehicles, with six-hour queues  marring the first day of operations.

Quoting sources, the paper reported that the problem was due to a change in procedures undertaken by the Thai Customs Department for vehicle clearance.

The vehicle clearance for motorists coming from Danok was conducted by their Thai counterparts, previously, the procedure on the approval for lorry drivers’ travel documents was done at the Customs checkpoint, which was approximately 2km from the border.

The source told NST that this procedure is conducted next to the border where the lorry drivers would have to get down from their vehicles to see the Thai Immigration officers to get their passport stamped. This contributes to the six-hour queue.

Saifuddin said actions to resolve the issue will be taken immediately as roughly 60 per cent of trades from Thailand comes through this border as their goods and cargo are heading towards the main port in Penang.

Previously it was reported that the 24-hour operations is an effort to enhance connectivity, investment and flow of trade between the countries.

The three-month trial period involves cargo and goods movement by trucks and heavy vehicles, with an evaluation team on the ground to measure the effectiveness of the operations.

Total bilateral trade between Malaysia and Thailand last year was RM105.36 billion, with border trade accounting for more than 60 per cent of the total trade.

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