Plug all loopholes in automated clearance system, Malaysian govt told

Plug all loopholes in automated clearance system, Malaysian govt told
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

JOHOR BARU - All the loopholes in the Malaysian Automated Clearance System (MACS) should be immediately plugged and rectified to prevent abuse, said state Consumerism, Domestic Trade and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong.

As this was a matter of national security, the problems must be cleared, including tightening the issuance of the sticker, he said.

"It has already been five years since MACS was introduced. The relevant agencies must fine-tune it, upgrade the software and rectify the weaknesses.

"I hope those given this quick access into Johor do not abuse the privilege," he said.

The Star reported on July 9 that the MACS sticker, introduced to speed up movement of commuters between Malaysia and Singapore, was not foolproof.

It has allowed multiple entries into Malaysia without proof of exiting from Singapore.

Since the project was introduced five years ago, 553,530 Singaporeans and foreign nationals with long-term employment in the island republic have applied for the MACS sticker, which enables quick clearance via autogates at two Malaysian checkpoints at the Causeway and Second Link.

Johor MCA Government Affairs Liaison bureau head Michael Tay said it was "scary" that just about anyone was issued the sticker.

"This system is meant for investors and business people so that they can have easy access into Johor and Iskandar," he said, adding that those caught abusing the system should be fined and barred from enjoying the facility for one to three years.

Tay said the thumbprint of MACS holders should be used for verification.

"Malaysian passport holders must have their thumbprint verified when they pass through the autogates. But these MACS holders just walk through," he said, voicing concern that impersonators could exploit the system.

Under the MACS, which is a biometric system, successful applicants have special stickers on their passports, which will be scanned.

Those registered under the MACS need not fill up the white immigration cards whenever they enter the country.

Each applicant is charged RM30 (S$10.78) per year.

It is learnt that the Immigration Department usually detects abuses when the autogates are down and the MACS holders have to get clearance from immigration officers at the counter.

Those caught abusing the system will be turned back to Singapore and denied entry into Malaysia.

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