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  • Writer's pictureRick

SG-JB Crossing: It’s a Breeze to use Auto-Gates at Malaysia Immigrations

Singapore citizens with valid electronic passports are able to use the auto-gates (or electronic gates) at Malaysia checkpoints, same as Malaysia passport holders, under the new Malaysia Automated Clearance System 2.0 (MACS 2.0) programme. This good news was announced just couple of days before Chinese New Year 2023.

However, some false information* was being circulated online regarding the application for MACS that misled me to avoid using the new scheme on my first trip to Johor Bahru after CNY. After observing how some Singapore passport holders had made use of the auto-gates to clear immigration easily, I decided to go through the process of registering for MACS 2.0 and experience it for myself on my second trip over the border.

*Note: There is NO need for Singapore citizens to apply and pay RM30 for MACS (which is the original MACS 1.0 meant for Malaysia Long-Term Immigration Pass holders) in order to use the auto-gates under the new scheme.

And it is really a breeze to use the auto-gates!

After registering for MACS 2.0 online, I went to a manual counter on arriving at Johor Bahru CIQ, the officer verified my passport as usual and enrolled me to MACS 2.0 automatically, taking less than 5 minutes. When returning from Johor Bahru on the same day after the enrolment, I used the auto-gates to exit Malaysia. I was through the gantry in less than 10 minutes (at around 2:30pm on a Sunday). Singapore passport holders who were not using the auto-gates queued for over an hour as the queue had reached the far end of the departure hall that day.

The equipments used at the MACS 2.0 auto-gates are very similar to those use in Singapore customs, except that Malaysia uses facial recognition whereas Singapore uses both facial and iris scanners. The fallback when facial scanning failed is the fingerprint scanner.

Step-by-Step Details

Singapore citizens can use MACS 2.0 auto-gates at the following checkpoints:

  • Sultan Iskandar CIQ (JB) - via Woodlands

  • Sultan Abu Bakar ICQS (Johor) - via Tuas

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport (during peak hours only)

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (during peak hours only)

To use the auto-gates, a one-time enrolment is required. Follow these steps to enrol:

  1. Plan a day to go over to Johor or Kuala Lumpur. Within 3 days before the planned date of arrival, fill up and submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) registration form online.

  2. Bookmark the MDAC website. You will need to use it again.

  3. On arriving at Malaysia Immigrations at any of the above checkpoints, proceed to the manual counters for clearance and enrolling for MACS 2.0 at the same time. The officer-on-duty will be able to retrieve your MDAC from their computer system and automatically enrol you.

  4. After your trip, you will be able to use the auto-gates to depart from Malaysia.

Important: On every subsequent trips, fill up and submit the MDAC within 3 days of arriving in Malaysia to use the auto-gates. Otherwise, you will need to queue at the manual counters. 5 minutes of filling and submitting the MDAC form will save you hours of queuing, especially during peak hours on Saturday morning and Sunday evening.

Another thing to note is that minimum validity period for Singapore passport to enter Malaysia is 3 months, instead of 6 months, when using the MACS 2.0 only.

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Three attempts from MAY to SEP 2023 to register fingerprints at the JB Customs failed because immigration officers said their finger registration system was down indefinitely. They didn't know when the system could be used. How to register? I don't think JB is serious about this.

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