KKIA Problems Addressed by Transport Ministry
Several issues pertaining to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) were addressed by the Transport Ministry to maintain the image of the country and State by improving the airport's efficiency.
The issues were voiced out by Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin where several changes are needed to improve convenience and efficiency during the Parliament session.
Transport Deputy Minister Kamarudin Jaffar said the Home Ministry (KDN) will ensure that all immigration counters will be opened for operation during peak hours as the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and Immigration Department are aware of the lack of immigration officers on duty, especially when they are needed the most.
According to MAHB and Immigration, congestion within the Immigration check area occurs at the international arrival immigration check area at peak hours between 10.30pm and 1am.
In that timeframe, usually about nine planes will land at KKIA whereby five are from China while the rest from Korea, totalling about 1,000 passengers.
Kamarudin added that an increase of workforce is also being worked on while a reconfiguration of the immigration counters to accommodate two immigration officers in a counter to increase its efficiency without sacrificing space which is slated to be completed by February 2019.
The second issue that Kamarudin tackled during the Parliament session was that the signboards were not clear enough for tourists, especially from China and Taiwan who are not familiar with Bahasa Melayu or English.
This increases the risk where foreign tourists could have forgotten to get their passports checked and stamped upon arrival.
Such cases exist when siblings from Taiwan were detained for not having their passports stamped at the airport's immigration counter last week.
Kamarudin said MAHB will be cooperating with Sabah Tourism Board (STB) by creating standing signboards in Mandarin which will be placed at the immigration check areas as well as international arrival pathway, transboarder path at domestic-to-international and international-to-domestic, and domestic arrival paths.
Volunteers of Tourism Malaysia (TM) will also be stationed at pathways of International Arrivals to aid foreign tourists navigate around KKIA, especially around the Immigration Check area while MAHB is planning to place navigation arrows at strategic arrows as well as announcing designated immigration counters in Mandarin.
Meanwhile, Chan voiced out that reflective flexible poles were placed at each dividing lanes at the airport, causing a traffic congestion among the vehicles especially during peak hours.
He said the poles did not bring any benefits or convenience to the drivers while bringing more difficulties to drivers traversing through the airport.
Kamarudin explained that the reflective poles were designed to avoid any intervention clashes or accidents when vehicles are coming from the departure and arrival hall.
He added that the poles actually reduce traffic congestion by designating the inner lane as a spot for drivers to drop off or pick up passengers.
For the time being, the police and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) will be stationed during peak hours to disperse traffic congestion at the airport more efficiently.