Starting from Feb. 1, visitors, including those from Singapore, flying into Kuala Lumpur will be able to use the automated gates at Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA), Malaysia's Home Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced on Jan. 27, according to a leading Malaysian Chinese publication Sin Chew Daily.
Apart from Singapore, usage of the automated gates will also extend to visitors from six other countries including the UK, the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, as well as long-term pass holders, Shin Min Daily News reported.
Saifuddin had previously announced in a Facebook post on Jan. 26 that Malaysia was looking at expanding usage of the automated clearance to 10 countries considered "low-risk."In addition, the government will create two quick response teams, which will begin operations on Feb.1, to assist with immigration clearance and crowd control at peak hours, the minister said.
Move is aimed at addressing congestion at KLIA
The move is aimed at addressing congestion at the airport's immigration clearance.
Sin Chew Daily further reported that Malaysia's Tourism Minister, Tiong King Sing, had visited the airport a few days ago, whereupon he found that the queue for immigration looked like a "long snake".
Tiong was further quoted as saying that he had urged the Home Affairs Ministry to take the matter seriously and solve the problem as soon as possible.
According to the Facebook page of Malaysia Airports, Tiong was at KLIA on Jan. 22 to welcome passengers from China on Xiamen Airlines and from Vietnam on Air Asia.
Congestion caused by 20-26 planes arriving within five to 10 minutes during peak hours
Earlier on Jan. 25, Saifuddin said that one factor for the congestion of foreign visitors at KLIA was due to the arrival of 20 to 26 planes at an interval of five to 10 minutes apart during peak hours, Bernama reported.
The peak hours, according to the minister, are around 7am, 2.30pm and 8pm.
Another factor is the checks carried out on visitors to ensure that they are genuine tourists, he added.
On Jan. 27, Saifuddin pointed out that KLIA has 28 counters, four electronic gates and 10 automated clearance gates for immigration clearance.
The airport is able to process about 500 passengers every 47 minutes.
Saifuddin added that the rate of immigration clearance must be an average of 1,500 per hour.
Top photo by AR via Unsplash
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