Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Abdullah-Hsien Loong
Talked About Nothing?

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad had an informal bilateral meeting with Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong in Langkawi today. They talked about nothing else except Iskandar Development Region (IDR) in southern Johore.

Both prime ministers agreed to the setting up of a Malaysia-Singapore ministerial committee to oversee joint cooperation in IDR.

They also agreed to the use of smart cards instead of passports to facilitate “easy access for people who are travelling between Singapore and IDR.”

Abdullah explained: “that means we do away with the necessity of having to produce a passport and going through immigration which can take a long time."

So, instead of a free access zone (FAZ) in IDR which was scrapped after being heavily criticized by the Malaysia public, including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia today granted the use of smart cards to enter IDR from Singapore.

Malaysia is an independent and sovereign nation. If FAZ was being heavily criticized because it was construed as giving away Malaysia’s sovereignty to the foreign investors in IDR, what about the use of only smart cards to enter IDR - a territory of an independent and sovereign Malaysia?

Do we think Singapore will ever reciprocate Malaysia’s gesture by granting similar facility – using smart cards instead of passports - to thousands of Malaysians commuting everyday from Johor Bahru to work in Singapore?

So much about Abdullah-Hsien Loong’s informal talks. All about IDR. No discussions on the possible re-construction of the scenic bridge to replace the causeway in Johore Bahru. Nothing on the problem of CPF withdrawal by Peninsular Malaysia workers who had been working in Singapore. Nothing on the revised water agreement. Also nothing on the possible banning of granite and quarry dust exports to the island republic. – Ruhanie Ahmad

4 comments:

Alex said...

Ron,

FYI, tens of thousands Malaysian workers have already use smart cards to enter Singapore since 5 years ago.

Everyday thousands of Malaysians just insert their smart card into the slot, put our right thumbprint onto the scanner, in less than 4 seconds, the gate opens (if the thumb print matches pre-record thumbprint stored in the card.

No immigration officer is in sight to check your passport. That is how Singapore clears tens of thousands of Malaysian workers and students everyday.

Read here http://www.gemplus.com/pss/id_security/download/Singapore_Immigration_Visa.pdf
---------------------------
Thousands of frequent travelers and transborder workers pass through Singapore’s immigration checkpoints on a daily basis. The peak traffic times created
by the large population of Malaysian and Singaporean workers working across the border lengthened immigration clearance time and required a large staff to ensure immigration control through manual passport checks. In addition, the Singapore Ministry
of Home Affairs was facing a shortage of manpower to staff the labor-intensive manual immigration clearance system. It needed a more efficient, cost-effective and
secure manner to manage traveler traffic and identification at immigration checkpoints.

To address these problems, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs decided to establish the Immigration Automated Clearance System (IACS) based on the use of a
Checkpoint Access Card (CAC) for the frequent traveler and transborder worker
population.

Alex said...

The link is here:

http://www.gemplus.com/pss/id_security/download/Singapore_Immigration_Visa.pdf

Mat Salo said...

Bro' (Datuk) Ron,

I'm compelled to say something here. My take is, in the long run run the IDR will come to fruition, and with it the resurrection of the Bridge etc. The proposed bullet train will make it necessary. Our histories have so long been intertwined that it's the only way forward, with both Johor and S'pore poised to benefit. The question is, for this to happen in a benificial way for M'sians, will require a special sort of leader from our side. And I don't see a capable sort with the status quo, at present. I don't want to us to get short-changed, Bro'... and so will the rest of our fellow citizens. Can the system be fixed so the "true" leaders can arise? Salaam.

lamandau said...

Datuk, I thought WPI is for all FDIs I mean global but why the necessity to form a Malaysia-Singapore JCM to oversea the joint cooperation in IDR? Is Malaysia going to form JCM with Indonesia, brunei,andother countries who wish to participate in the IDR? If that's the case then the project will be clouded with meetings! Or IDR is exclusively for Singapore?

I don't think all members of the cabinet agree to this or it was bulldozed? I can't see the rationale behind all this move? What MAPEN have got to say about this move? You mean everybody agree to this inclusive of Pemuda Umno, GPMS, etc. ? God bless Malaysipura (new name for IDR)