JOHOR BARU - The Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is set to kick off on Wednesday but the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex here is still being bogged down by frequent breakdown of lifts and escalators.
Checks by The Star at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar CIQ Complex on Saturday showed that one of the escalators at the main entrance was not functioning and commuters had to use the staircase - including those carrying heavy luggage.
Many commuters complained of faulty elevators and escalators not only at the main entrance of the building but also the facilities leading to and from the bus port at the basement of the complex.
D. Ananthan, 51, who commutes daily to and from Singapore via the CIQ, said it was common to see signs being put up at escalators announcing that the facilities were under maintenance.
"One of the elevators at the JB Sentral that leads to the CIQ area is always not functioning as well. I am used to seeing the signage everyday but I have not seen anybody actually fixing the facilities," he claimed.
Darren Goon, 23, who came from Penang to Johor for a holiday with his family and then decided to take a day-trip to Singapore, said the malfunctioning escalators created a bad first impression on Johor.
"I sympathise with the senior citizens travelling with luggage as they have to walk up and down the stairs. It's quite dangerous for people their age to do so," he said.
Salesgirl Ngoi Fui Wen, 24, said it was tiring to walk up and down the many flight of stairs especially during rush hour at the CIQ after a long day at work in Singapore.
Malaysian Tour Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said that tourists with heavy luggage, elderly folk and especially those with walking difficulties and the handicapped, had to take the stairs due to the escalator breakdown.
"Many tourists who arrived at the CIQ have complained about how such a huge complex could have faulty facilities. The escalators from the basement to the second level, where they have to get their passports checked, are not working," he claimed.
In view of Visit Malaysia Year 2014, he hoped the problem would be rectified soon to give a proper welcome to tourists.
Enquiries with various authorities about the CIQ were directed to the Public Works Department, which could not be reached for comment as at press time.
Johor Domestic Trade, Tourism and Consumerism exco Datuk Tee Siew Kiong, when contacted, said he would look into the matter as it concerned the image of the state.