The authorities in Riau Islands have called on Singapore to improve its immigration treatment of Indonesian travellers entering the neighbouring city state especially during holiday seasons like the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Riau Islands Police chief Insp. Gen. Sambudi Gusdian said Singapore's Immigration Checkpoint Authority usually opened only five out of 20 gates at the Harbour Front Centre ferry terminal during holiday seasons.
"We ask Singapore to open all 20 gates during the holidays, when the number of travellers peaks. Every day some 5,000 to 8,000 Indonesian travellers and businesspeople enter Singapore via four Batam ports. The limited number of open checkpoints creates problems in the flow of people. Lines at immigration can last up to two hours," Sambudi told Singaporean Consul General Gavin Chay during a meeting event with the Association of Industrial Parks in Batam on Monday
Sambudi said that most Indonesian travellers went to spend money, shopping in Singapore so "Singapore should treat them well."
Apart from the Harbour Front Centre, travellers from Batam ports can enter Singapore via Tanah Merah checkpoint.
Riau Islands Police deputy chief Brig. Didi Haryono also used the opportunity to deliver his personal experience of the slow immigration procedure.
Consul General Chay was unable to comment when approached by The Jakarta Post.