Wednesday, 16 July, 2008 10:35 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
My experience at the Woodland and Tuas checkpoint left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I was driving towards Woodland checkpoint early on Sunday morning (13 July 2008) before 8am and was stuck in one of the worst customs jam I ever came across in the many years travelling to Malaysia. I made a detour to Tuas checkpoint thinking that it might be a better choice.
When I reached Tuas, there was already a long queue forming. Only when my turn came did I realise what is the cause of the customs jam. All of us were required to get down to give apply out thumbprint to the singular available thumbprint recognition device set up for this purpose.
When I headed back from Malaysia at 11+pm towards Woodlands, clearing Malaysia’s custom was such a breeze, but at the Singapore causeway, the same customs jam I witnessed in the morning awaited me.
The traffic was crawling at 12 midnight. It took me 1.5 hours just to reach the custom booth. The ICA staff came out from his booth, and told us in a very harsh tone to wind down our windows and reveal all our faces.
My two kids were crying from the long wait and I requested that he make it fast and not to hold us up unnecessarily.
After clearing from the customs booth, another jam awaited at the secondary clearing with again 1 lane is open for vehicle to go through.
Now, the ICA would like to have us think that after their 2 recent hiccups, they need to be more vigilant and stringent in their checks.
My questions however are,
1) Is our ICA so poor as to only have one operation biometric device?
2) Is our ICA so capable only to be able to maintain vigilance at one customs secodary clearing?
3) why do we citizens have to pay for ICA’s mistakes? Given the time wasted and inconvenience caused to us, time is economical lost to us too.
4) if the ICA thinks that due to their negligence, the stringent checks are necessary, shouldn’t they be deploying more personnel to handle the stringent checks and minimise their inconvenience caused to motorists? (1 lane for motorists on the left side of the customs to handle such a jam??)
5) the department responsible for the negligence should be taken to task and made to answer for it, motorists should not be paying for the mistakes of that department. If there is any economic loss, ICA should pay, not the motorist. (i.e. deploying more staffs, opening up more counters, have a portable biometric device instead of inconveniencing motorists to alight to apply the thumbprint imprinted, they should be moving around with a portable device that allow them to come to us than we go to them)
6) cost of deploying more staffs, use of portable device etc should be borne by the respective departments or pay cut from the HOD be used for this purpose and not taxpayers money.
7) ICA staff may be doing their job, but they should learn to be more polite when they do so, they should be the one seeking our cooperation to ameliorate their mistakes made and not demanding our cooperation in a harsh and unfriendly tone as it we owed it to them.
Citizens should not be paying for the mistakes made by the Government. It is time for respective departments, in this case ICA and MHA, to take responsibility for their mistakes.