Johor to propose QR Code after MBike system crashed

JOHOR BARU: What began as a minor technical glitch at the automated Immigration clearance system for motorcyclists three months ago has grown into a full-blown problem, with no solution in sight for the 40,000 Malaysians using the MBike system to commute daily to Singapore.

It all began when the Federal Government decided on March 1 to replace the original vendor of the project who, in 2016, custom-built the entire system for the Immigration Department.

This resulted in the department ditching the Mbike system at both land checkpoints at the Causeway and Second Link to revert to the manual system of checking passports, leading to congestion in the motorcycle lanes during the daily peak hours.

Currently, the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (BSI) at the Causeway has some 100 MBike machines, with 50 each installed at the exit and entry lanes.

At the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex CIQ (KSAB) at the Second Link, there are 50 such machines with 25 each at the exit and entry lanes.

The MBike system was introduced eight years ago to help reduce the gridlock at both the land checkpoints with Singapore.

The system uses a radio frequency identification device (RFID) sticker attached to the passport, requiring the rider to place his thumb on the reader for the gantry gate to open.

The sticker is only issued to Malaysians who frequently travel to Singapore.

READ MORE: Motorcyclists voice their frustration 

Johor works, transportation, infrastructure and communication committee chairman Mohamad Fazli Mohamad Salleh, when contacted, confirmed that the MBike system had been down since March due to the change of vendor.

He said the matter was scheduled to be raised during a special inter-agency meeting on the congestion issue to be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof here today.

“This is a serious problem and Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi is in contact with the federal authorities,” he said.

Mohamad Fazli said that if no solution is in sight, the state will propose the use of the QR Code system instead for motorcyclists.“But this will require testing and it will take some time to be implemented,” he added.

On the issuance of new MBike stickers, he said this has been halted for the time being until the issue is resolved.

The exco member said the exact number of Mbike users could be more than the estimated 40,000 to include those needing to reapply their expired stickers.

Johor Immigration Department acting director Mohd Faizal Shamsudin said his personnel are doing their best to manually handle the motorcycle traffic during peak hours at both land checkpoints, with manpower redeployed from other areas to help out at the counters.

He agreed that using the QR Code, as being implemented in stages by Singapore, would be an option.

A Home Ministry official said that during peak hours, the Immigration Department had to double its manpower at the motorcycle lanes to manually handle the huge number of bikers, adding that at times they even had to divert them to the car lanes.

He said the problem could be due to hardware issues, adding that the new vendor had been given three months to fix the problem.

The official said it is a huge strain for the department to redeploy manpower in order to operate all the motorcycle counters during peak hours.

To make matters worse, the official said only the MBike lanes at the BSI have booths which could be opened for manual checking purposes.

“The KSAB does not have booths and Immigration personnel have to stand near the machines or use the car lanes to clear the motorcyclists,” the official added.
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