According to the Malay Mail Online, the high number of travellers along with insufficient immigration officers are causing the congestion at KL International Airport (KLIA). On that note, Siew Ka Wei, chairman at Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board has called for an urgent meeting this week with all stakeholders to resolve the matter.
However, an immigration official has told Malay Mail Online on 7 Aug that measures have been taken by the department to ensure maximum staff strength - including limiting the number of staff going on leave and controlling their movement. Despite such measures, the shortage of personnel was still apparent.
He said: "The break time of each and every personnel is monitored. During peak hours and holiday season they are allowed only a 30-minute break."
According to the official, there were also personnel who specifically handle the departure of haj pilgrims. He said there was currently a high influx of tourists from the Middle East into the country as it was their summer season.
He also highlighted that KLIA and KLIA2 had about 80,000 travellers each on Monday, with only about 1,500 personnel at immigrations in total between the two airports.
"The minimum movement is close to 60,000 people in a day," he said, adding that the busiest times are between 11am and 9pm for arrivals, and mornings for departures.
"With the limited personnel, it is quite tough to handle the number of passengers during peak periods," the official said. There are close to 40 counters for departures, with the same number for arrivals.
Earlier on 6 Aug, Immigration Department director-general Mustafar Ali said he was open to sending his officers for Mandarin classes if that would help ease the congestion at KLIA.
Representatives from the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, the Immigration Department and Tourism Malaysia have highlighted key problems - including the language barrier, causing major delays for Chinese tourists.
With China being the third biggest inbound tourism source after Singapore and Indonesia, he said: "If this can help ease congestion, I am all for it. That will assist the Immigration Department since we are acutely short of Chinese officers."
This article was first published in HumanResources.