Singapore’s efficiency came in for a rap today from Indonesia which urged the city-state to improve and streamline the treatment of its travelers headed to the Republic for the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays.
The Jakarta Post quoting 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 travelers peaks. Every day some 5,000 to 8,000 Indonesian travelers and business people 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 travelers went to spend money, shopping in Singapore so “Singapore should treat them well.” Apart from the Harbour Front Centre, travelers 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. The newspaper did not say what his experience was or make comparisons with Indonesian immigration entry points.
Though Indonesia remains relatively free of the scourge of terrorism – except for some episodes, hither and thither – Singapore was nonetheless spooked when an abortive plan to fire a rocket into the Marina Bay Sands casino jaunt came uncovered. The supposed attack was presumed to have been launched from Batam – the nearest Indonesian island to Singapore – and designed to cause mayhem.
Fortunately for the republic exhaustive information-sharing collaboration among its ASEAN partners foiled the attempt.