UMNO Dirty Trick Begins – Autogates At Johor Checkpoint Suspended To Prevent Chinese Voters Return From Singapore

Pin It

Oct 17 2022
Linked In

Effective from October 16, 2022 to November 10, 2022, travellers entering or exiting Malaysia have to increase their level of patience. The already long queue will get even worse. That’s because during the period, the automated customs clearance system at the Sultan Iskandar Building’s Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint in Johor will be suspended.


According to the official Facebook page of the Sultan Iskandar Building, the closure is to facilitate autogates replacement and installation works. While the announcement said not all auto-gates will be closed, it did not specify how many automated gates will operate as usual – raising suspicion that it could be a hasty decision to discourage Malaysian Chinese working in Singapore from returning to vote.


As an alternative, according to the Malaysian custom, travellers can go to specific counters where clearance will be done manually. The following are the counters for different categories of travellers:

  1. Counter 1 – 4
    • for Malaysian citizens
  2. Counter 5
    • for senior citizens, people with disabilities, pregnant mothers and Malaysian permanent residents
  3. Counter 6 – 18
    • for all passports

Sultan Iskandar Building Customs, Immigration and Quarantine CIQ Checkpoint Johor - Crowded Jam

Due to the manual processing, time taken for clearance at the checkpoint will certainly increase. Since the border reopening on April 1 this year, an average 138,000 people used the Sultan Iskandar Building’s Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint every day. Another 28,000 people used the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (KSAB) CIQ, Gelang Patah daily.


All auto-gates and foreign visitors e-gates, as well as the Malaysian Automated Clearance System (MACS) in Johor were suspended since March 2020 to limit the spread of Covid-19 infection. In March 2022, Malaysia and Singapore announced that fully vaccinated travellers can travel between both countries in their own vehicles again beginning April 1, 2022 without the need for quarantine or Covid tests.


Therefore, the burning question is why the Johor authorities did not use the 2 years during the Covid lockdown to replace, repair or install auto-gates. Even though the country was under lockdown, it doesn’t mean critical works cannot be carried out. Besides, the lockdowns did not stretch for the full 2 years. There were partial liftings of lockdown, allowing maintenance jobs.



The 3 weeks needed now to upgrade auto-gates could be easily scheduled within the 2-year between March 2020 and March 2022. According to Johor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Onn Hafiz Ghazi in June 2022, there are 284 exit and entry counters operated at the CIQ BSI (Sultan Iskandar Building’s Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) and 169 at CIQ KSAB (Gelang Patah).


Out of the 284 counters at Sultan Iskandar Building’s CIQ, there are 38 counters for cars, 50 for motorcycles and 12 for heavy vehicles, as well as 42 automatic and manual counters for buses. Clearly, not only the sudden suspension of auto-gates was ill-thought as it definitely creates inconvenience to 138,000 users, the timing glaringly clashes with the coming 15th General Election.


Prime Minister Ismail Sabri announced the dissolution of Parliament on October 10, despite warning of flash floods during the current monsoon season. His party president – Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – has arrogantly announced that the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) will go to the national polls come rain of the flood, never mind people might lose their lives during the disaster.

Malaysia Flash Flood - Clueless PM Ismail Sabri

Depending on how many states dissolve their respective legislatures to hold state elections concurrently with parliamentary election, the 15th General Election could be held within 4 weeks of Parliament dissolution. Well, guess what – four weeks since the October 10 coincides with November 10, the last day Sultan Iskandar Building’s CIQ checkpoint still suspended.


While the polling must be held within 60 days from the date of Parliament dissolution, the general election this time is likely to take place before November 10 to avoid the start of the monsoon season in mid-November. The Election Commission, which will have a special meeting on October 20, would most likely set Saturday (November 5) as the polling day.


Opposition Pakatan Harapan has announced three states under its control – Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan – will not dissolve their respective state assemblies. Likewise, Perikatan Nasional, the biggest bloc of ally of PM Sabri, has decided not to go for a concurrent election in the states of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu. The Election Commission will use these to justify an election on Nov 5.

Melaka State Election - Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan

This will enable ethnic Indian to celebrate the Deepavali festival on Oct 24 and allow for 2 weeks of campaigning. Even if the Election Commission delay it by another week to Oct 12 (Saturday), the Johor CIQ, under the federal government jurisdiction, can easily extend the auto-gates closure by another two days just to frustrate voters from going back to Malaysia to vote.


This is not the first time the corrupt government of UMNO has resorted to dirty tricks to ensure a low turnout, which traditionally is advantageous to the party. In general, outstation voters, especially ethnic Chinese working in Singapore, would vote for the Opposition. The recent Melaka and Johor state elections are classic examples where outstation Chinese did not return to vote, leading to huge wins for UMNO.


In the 2018 General Election, then-PM Najib Razak had deliberately instructed Election Commission to set Wednesday – the first time on a weekday – as election day. The corrupt leader thought voters – both domestic and overseas – would not return to vote. However, it backfired, sparking outrage and pushed many angry Malaysians to raise funds to ensure a full turnout to vote out Najib regime.

Najib Razak – Unexpectedly Lost 2018 General Election

Having learned its lesson four years ago, which saw the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional coalition ruling government lost power for the first time in history, UMNO dares not pull the same trick again. However, they have a new disgusting trick – weaponising the Sultan Iskandar Building’s Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint in Johor to stop Chinese voters from casting their votes.


It was already bad that tons of complaints have been lodged about Immigration counters at the checkpoints being unmanned, which the lazy and incompetent Malaysian authorities conveniently blamed on lack of manpower. It now becomes worse as auto-gates are suspended for dubious reasons, creating a more serious bottleneck at manual counters.


Crossing the Johor Bahru checkpoints is notorious for hours of traffic jam during peak hours. Even if you take the public transport like bus, it doesn’t mean you will get clearance after reaching the checkpoint within 40 minutes. You might be stuck in the queue at the immigration hall for hours. Shutting down autogates means longer queues and bigger crowds.

Sultan Iskandar Building Customs, Immigration and Quarantine CIQ Checkpoint Johor

At peak, more than 300,000 Malaysians travel across the Causeway daily, making it one of the busiest overland border crossings in the region. The majority of the travellers are Malaysians who work in the city state. The Coronavirus pandemic and the global inflation mean voters will prioritize the bread and butter issue over general election, at least this is what UMNO bets.


However, this also shows that UMNO isn’t as strong as it claims to be. Only cowards and crooks would selfishly declare an election during rainy season and shamelessly suspend auto-gates at immigration to make life difficult for voters working in Singapore. First, it was crooked Najib Razak. Now, it’s crooked Zahid Hamidi. Both crooks still haven’t learned their lesson.


Other Articles That May Interest You …

Pin It

FinanceTwitter SignOff
If you enjoyed this post, what shall you do next? Consider:

Like FinanceTwitter Tweet FinanceTwitter Subscribe Newsletter   Leave Comment Share With Others


Add your comment now.

Leave a Reply


(required)(will not be published)