Thought of the day

I thank whatever gods may be / For my unconquerable soul. / I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul. ~William Ernest Henley, Invictus

Government's promises are like the Ringgit, they depreciate with time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sultan Iskandar CIQ (Part I) - Jam Jam Jam

Architecture grande et élégante

Yes, we have a new JB Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex! But...

Yes, you heard it right; there are buts, lots of buts to the extent that I will need to segregate it into few parts on my blog.

If you are a frequent traveler between JB and Singapore, you would notice that Bolehland had been drumming a lot on the new CIQ to replace the old one. To start off with, I read an apt coverage by Nelson Benjamin on the old JB CIQ titled "Johor’s gateway of shame" on November 1, 2008, which vividly described the unspeakable condition of the JB checkpoint and its surrounding, a reflection of poor state and federal governance.

The situation on our side of the causeway is in sharp contrast to Singapore’s CIQ, which is cleaner, bigger, beggar-free, well maintained and without any potholes.

In fact, Singapore’s tourism agency is doing well in using the causeway as a marketing tool by setting up a huge television screen welcoming visitors and informing them about latest attractions, events, promotions and shows in the island republic.
And the other publicities ensued:

November 20, 2008: CIQ complex to finally open next month

Everything is now ready and everyone is only waiting for an official opening date,” a source familiar with the project said.


  • Able to handle 70 million visitors annually.
  • Will house 18 government agencies.
  • five-storey complex, dubbed an intelligent building.
  • 76 lanes for cars: 38 lanes in, 38 lanes out.
  • 100 lanes for motorcycles:50 lanes in and 50 lanes out.
  • 25 parking bays allocated for bus entry and exit.
  • Only Touch ’n Go cards are allowed to be used for payment.
  • Multi-lingual touch screen information display panels to assist visitors entering Johor.

November 29, 2008: JOHOR ASSEMBLY: RM1.3b Sultan Iskandar complex opens on Monday

He (State Local Government, Housing, Works and Public Amenities Committee chairman Datuk Ahmad Zahri Jamil) was optimistic that the traffic flow problem would be solved although there was traffic congestion during a recent simulation exercise.

"It is quite apparent when you look at the structure of the complex that there is a part of the structure which stops abruptly," Datuk Ahmad Zahri said.

November 30, 2008: Much awaited CIQ Complex to open officially Monday

December 4, 2008: New complex in Johor Baru set to ease congestion on Causeway

JOHOR BARU: The new Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex is expected to cut traffic congestion on the Causeway by more than half.

December 15, 2008: New CIQ complex opens

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.

December 17, 2008: Crawl at CIQ complex checkpoint on first day

The two-hour-long crawl saw traffic into Johor snaking all the way to Woodlands in Singapore during peak hours due to motorists being caught off guard by the cashless toll collection system at the complex.

The congestion did not let up even when Plus officials were stationed at the complex entrance to sell RM20 cards on the spot to motorists.

Motorists heading towards the new Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex were caught in a massive jam along the Malaysia-Singapore Causeway.

To think that the much awaited RM1.3 billion complex would alleviate the exhausting traffic jams is a wishful dream. I mean, come on, after so many Malaysia Boleh projects, can't you catch the trend? They always seem to be superficially hebat at one glance (76 lanes for cars + 100 lanes for motorcycles wor!!! HEBAT!) and end up becoming global joke eventually. Personally, I wouldn’t even harbor that thought instead of praying hard that it will not add salt to the wound because end of the day, I will be going through the checkpoint as well. Now, if you follow the events closely and be observant enough, you would have caught the tell-tale signs of the upcoming problems, wouldn't you?

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