Monday December 15, 2008

New CIQ complex opens

By MEERA VIJAYAN

JOHOR BARU: The new Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex will be fully operational tomorrow and replace the Causeway checkpoint in the city centre, which will be closed.

This means that all vehicles travelling to and from Singapore will have to use the new complex to get their passports stamped and Customs checks.

Ready for action: An aerial view of the new Sultan Iskandar Building (background), which houses the new Custom, Immigration and Quarantine complex in Johor Baru.

The RM1.3bil new complex, which has 76 lanes for cars and 100 for motorcycles, was partially operational on Dec 1 when vehicles from Singapore were diverted to the complex for a drive-through after completing their Immigration and Customs procedures at the Causeway checkpoint.

Starting tomorrow, all vehicles coming from Singapore must also use Touch n Go cards to pay toll as they enter Malaysia.

Previously, at the Causeway checkpoint, toll payments could be done with cash and Touch n Go cards.

Johor traffic police chief Supt T. Raveendran said full operations of the complex would start at 12.01am tomorrow and would involve all cars, buses, vans and motorcycles.

Lorries, however, would still use the Tanjung Puteri checkpoint.

Supt Raveendran said that at 11.45pm today, the existing Immigration counters in Jalan Tun Razak just before the Causeway would be closed.

All vehicles heading to Singapore between 11.45pm and midnight would be diverted to Jalan Sawmill behind the Johor Baru (central) police station, he added.

Vehicles would then have to go on either Jalan Pantai Lido or Jalan Wong Ah Fook to Jalan Tebrau and subsequently to Jalan Lingkaran Dalam to enter the Sultan Iskandar CIQ complex, he said.

After midnight, all vehicles should head directly to the Sultan Iskandar CIQ complex via Jalan Lingkaran Dalam.

The old Immigration checkpoint at the Causeway will be demolished after authorities are satisfied with the smooth flow of traffic at the new complex.

Engineer Darryl Chong, 32, who works in Singapore and used the new complex, said that he was concerned over the narrow roads at the new complex.

The roads are very narrow for big vehicles, he said.

He added that he was unsure whether larger vehicles would slow down the flow of traffic while trying to manoeuvre the winding roads.

Chong also noted the complex was fully covered.