SINGAPORE, Dec 6 — A blackout at Johor Baru’s Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (CIQ), that went on for at least 11 hours, is an “embarrassment”, said the Malaysian state’s chief minister Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi today.
The situation has resulted in heavy departure traffic at Woodlands Checkpoint “due to tailback from Malaysia”, said Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Wednesday afternoon.
“Delays are expected and travellers are advised to check traffic conditions before embarking on their journey,” said the authority in a Facebook post, adding that travellers should check its page for more updates.
Earlier, travellers stood in the dark while waiting to clear immigration at Johor Baru, with several social media users saying that electronic customs gates and air-conditioning were not working from around 8pm on Tuesday.
In a Facebook post, Onn Hafiz included a photo of a notice stating power outages were expected at the Sultan Iskandar Building and CIQ from 8pm on December 5 to 4am on December 6 due to maintenance works.
The letter, dated November 27, was from Malaysian electricity company Tenaga Nasional.
It is unclear why the outage continued after 4am.
“What is happening is a huge issue for users and an embarrassment to the state,” said Onn Hafiz, adding that he has instructed Tenaga Nasional and the Malaysian public works department to quickly resolve the situation.
He also questioned why there was no backup power at the complex.
In a video posted by TikTok user “lavinesh_lavonn” at 5.30am, travellers can be seen lined up in the dark, with several using their mobile phones as flashlights.
Another TikTok video of the immigration centre posted by user “thilashinynathan1222” — which garnered over 3,500 views in five hours — showed snaking lines of travellers waiting to go through the manual immigration counters.
The same user later posted that it took her five hours to clear the immigration and head across the Johor-Singapore causeway, with three hours spent standing in the dark in CIQ.
However, some social media users in the Facebook group “Woodlands Checkpoint Human Traffic” reported that electronic gates at the Sultan Iskandar Building were working again at around 10am on Wednesday, although escalators are still switched off.
On Tuesday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced that most foreigners intending to visit the country from Jan 1 will be required to fill up the country’s digital arrival card. However, he said Singaporeans travelling to Malaysia will be exempted.
Days earlier, the country’s immigration department said on Facebook that the arrival card would be compulsory for all foreign nations, sparking confusion among Singaporeans about whether the requirement would apply to those entering the country via its land borders.
TODAY has contacted Malaysia’s immigration department, Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia, for more information about the outage. — TODAY