Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Experience at Immigrant checkpoint to Malaysia

Took a short trip to Malaysia with my mum to visit my uncle and cousins. To disbelief of many, I have not been to Jb for over a decade, and least of all, I have never been through the new immigrant checkpoint on foot. So it was like a mini excursion for me, a new exploration. I let my mum led the way.

Surprisingly the Q moved rapidly and there was little fuss at the immigration. Technology has progressed and so has the speed. Probably being a monday, there was also little human traffic to contend with. Despite assuring my mum that we no longer need the arrival and departure "white cards" to get into Malaysia (since i had read the official annoucement over the news prior being back in sg), my mum tried to seek assurance from the singapore officials while they were scanning her passport. The result? They told my mum "They (the official) werent sure and told my mum to try again at the Malaysia checkpoint.

I was alittle miffed that despite official announcement being out from the minister in Malaysia in the newspaper, our singapore staff working specifically at the checkpoint could so balantly be so ignorant of our neighbours policy changes. Why such disregard and uncertainty, only the Singapore bosses of such staff can answer. It's not like the policy changes wasnt broadcast in the news!! So it doesnt matter to these officials if our own senior citizens get into "trouble" across the waters simply because their job was just to "STAMP" the passport and nothing else? My mum was still a little worried but I told her "it's ok, i am sure she didnt need the white cards." Sure enough when we reach the Malaysia customs, no mention of the white card was made.

I wonder whose job it is to "educate" our Singapore Immigration checkpoint staff? Shouldnt such a policy change be communicated to the staff and debriefed on at least the changes even if no details were available? Or was it left to the initative of the custom staff to do their own research and read the papers on their own to catch up on changes? If so, then our staff are deplorably under reading their dosage of news, almost disgraceful.

If a fellow travellor cannot even seek assurance from our immigration staff before heading to the unknown across the water, I wonder what is the use of having a human stationed there. Might as well replace them all with mindless machines and cut such useless human cost.


littlecartnoodles said...

Haha, from your title I had thought that you were about to complain about Malaysian immigration.

Our immigration officials probably did not want to answer your mum's question with any certainty because it's not within their jurisdiction and Malaysian immigration policies can be quite unpredictable.

As far as they're concerned, they are only there to make sure that you can leave Singapore. It's up to the M'sians to determine if you can enter M'sia.

Not trying to defend them, but just my thoughts.

"me-no-mad" said...

Agreeable with u, which was why i was only a little miffed on record, and wasnt explosively upset:)

You could be right on that score but i still felt that rather than saying "they do not know, not sure", they should do better since msia is our really close neighbor and ironically, the official broadcast was just spread all over news just a few earlier before my trip! (because of all the confusion and uncertainty days before leading to the broadcast) :)

WhiteDuskRed said...

Agree with littlecartnoodles. You will be even more upset if they said "No" and you gotten a "Yes" on the other end. In HK they customs don't know what happens in mainland China even though they are supposed to be the same country~

In any case, they are really replacing some of the immigration counters with automatic gantries...


"me-no-mad" said...

yup yup! I agree.... I havent tried the new auto gantries yet though I have seen them. Wasnt sure it it was the same technology as the one used at airport, so i didnt try as the one at airport always have problems recognising my passport for some reasons and I ended up slower.... I still use our auto gantries uses some scanning of IC with biometric thumb recognition instead... i am sure we will get there some day soon....