Sunday, May 15, 2011

MACS - Malaysia Automated Clearance System

recently, i have been a frequent traveller to Malaysia. If you frequently get out of our small dot, you will understand the hassle of filling in white cards, no matter which country.

heard that there is a way to avoid this white card problem, if you get into Malaysia via the land checkpoints. The prerequisite is minimum 4 trips a month. Cost wise, RM30 plus a passport size photo. The arrangement is valid for a year. A sticker will be affixed onto the next empty endorsement page.

although i drive in, for the purpose of this application i decided to take 170 instead. For drivers, park nearby the checkpoint and walk in. The 24 hours "one stop centre" that entertains the MACS application is just located behind the counter where white cards are issued to travellers. If you take any bus in and follow the crowd to the arrival hall, you won't miss this OSC. Take an application form, fill it up, then take a queue number and wait.

my experience
the only problem i faced, there were long queues (peak hour) at the hall. I thought since i was applying for MACS, i can bypass these queues. But the lady told me to first chop my passport at counter 17/18 (MACS lane), then u-turn back to OSC to continue the application. Even for MACS lane, the queue was horrible. Anyway, went to queue at 17, but realised the queue was not moving much after a while. Then i went back to tell the lady, she said counter 18 instead. At counter 18, an immigration uncle came over and said the queue was meant for people with special needs, such as elderly and parents carrying their baby. The queue barely moved 10m in 1.5 hrs. Got a little upset, went back to the lady and told her politely that the queue was really taking too long. Then she got her colleague to 'bypass' the chop and process the application straightaway.

within 15 minutes the sticker was ready. But we lost the interest to continue the queue (my partner did not have MACS), and asked for permission to return to SG via a glass door that leads to the Singapore bound bus bays.

i have to say, despite this sour experience due to the slow-moving queues, their staff are generally polite and on-hand to answer any questions. Just speak to them nicely and in simple english, they will return the favour. This was a far cry from the days of the stuffy and tiny passenger checkpoint before 2009. Appreciate their level of customer service, they have come a long way.

for those who are driving, the medium-term link is also up since early this year, no more F1 circuit course (short-term access) leading to the checkpoint anymore.

other links:

Online application portal