PUTRAJAYA: Travellers from 36 low-risk countries will be allowed to use the autogate facility for immigration clearance at all entry points beginning June 1.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the move would expedite the immigration clearance process without compromising security measures, and address congestion at the country’s entry points.

The latest additions bring the total number of countries allowed to use the facility to 46 and among the new countries are the European Union, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, China, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

“Last year, to alleviate congestion during consecutive flight arrivals, especially during peak hours, one of the initiatives we announced was allowing visitors from 10 low-risk countries to undergo immigration clearance via the autogate. The autogate process only takes 10 to 15 seconds.

“It is the responsibility of the Home Ministry, particularly the Immigration Department (JIM), to ensure that the arrival procedures for travellers are smooth and seamless,“ he told a press conference here today.

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Last year, the ministry allowed visitors from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia to use the autogate facility.

Saifuddin Nasution said 40 million tourist arrivals were recorded between Jan 1, 2023 and last month and that of the total, 30.5 million of them entered via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminals 1 and 2, as well as entry points in Johor, namely the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at Sultan Iskandar Building (BSI) and Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (KSAB) in Iskandar Puteri.

“So, if we can focus on managing congestion at KSAB and CIQ, followed by KLIA 1 and 2, I am confident that this is a step that we hope will reduce congestion issues at the country’s entry points,“ he said.

He added that the autogate facility would also be extended to all diplomatic personnel working in Malaysia, including their family members.

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The Home Ministry and JIM will hold discussions with the Foreign Ministry to obtain details of diplomats and their families residing in Malaysia, he said.

Saifuddin Nasution said the ministry was drafting several initiatives to address congestion at the country’s entry points, especially at Johor Causeway, and these matters would be discussed and finalised in a meeting scheduled for this month.

He added that according to JIM, Johor Causeway recorded an average daily mobility of nearly 350,000, with the majority of them being workers taking buses and motorcycles.

“We believe that the immigration clearance process can no longer be sustained with the current system; we must be proactive and explore and innovate using various other systems.

“The Home Ministry will make a series of announcements soon,“ he said, adding that among the improvements being considered is the use of QR codes.