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Johor State Exco attributes 12-hour power outage at JB’s CIQ BSI to generator malfunction

The 12-hour power outage incident that occurred at the Sultan Iskandar CIQ Complex (CIQ BSI), lasting from Tuesday night to Wednesday, was attributed to a malfunction in one of the generators at the premises.

Earlier, Johor’s Chief Minister, Onn Hafiz Ghazi on social media expressing dismay over the commuter inconvenience, labelling it an “embarrassment for the state”.

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JOHOR, MALAYSIA: The power outage incident that occurred at the Sultan Iskandar CIQ Complex (CIQ BSI), lasting from Tuesday night to Wednesday (6 Dec), was attributed to a malfunction in one of the generators on the premises, as stated by a Johor state executive councillor (Exco).

According to Mohamad Fazli Mohamad Salleh, the State Works, Transport, and Infrastructure Committee chairman, the complex was reliant on a single electricity source and had seven backup generators in place.

However, the failure of one generator led to a complete blackout lasting for 12 hours.

This power disruption forced individuals entering or leaving the country to undergo manual passport stamping, causing significant overcrowding in the halls of the JB Checkpoint.

Consequently, there was heavy departure traffic at Woodlands Checkpoint, triggered by a backlog from Malaysia, as confirmed by Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Wednesday afternoon.

During a press conference, Mohamad Fazli acknowledged the confusion at CIQ BSI, especially when the pedestrian hall experienced a blackout due to maintenance by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB).

These maintenance works were scheduled from 8 pm to 4 am.

He mentioned that while the seven generators initially functioned well during the maintenance, one of them malfunctioned around 11 pm, leading to a complete shutdown at 2 am. Power was restored at 9.30 am.

Mohamad Fazli emphasized that although the e-Gate system was non-operational during this period, the nine counters for contra lanes efficiently managed the commuting traffic between Malaysia and Singapore.

He assured that the incident did not disrupt travel between the two countries, as other lanes were made available earlier.

Additionally, authorities are collaborating to explore alternative electricity sources to prevent the recurrence of such incidents at the complex.

Upgrading measures include conducting ‘running tests’ on all generators and considering usage load, a departure from the current procedure that neglects usage load.

He added that the damaged generator would be prioritized for repair, estimating a maintenance cost of approximately RM800,000 for all seven sets.

Johor Chief Minister: “Embarrassment for the state”

Earlier, Onn Hafiz Ghazi, the Johor Chief Minister in a Facebook post confirmed the power outage at the JB checkpoint.

He expressed concern over the inconvenience caused to commuters, labelling it as “embarrassment for the state.”

Emphasizing the urgency, he stated that both the Malaysian electricity company TNB and the Malaysian Public Works Department (JKR) were instructed to resolve the issue promptly.

In response to Onn Hafiz’s post, some netizens complained that the incident compelled travellers, including senior citizens and children, to endure long queues in uncomfortable conditions.

Concurrently, other netizens suggested that the CIQ complex should have contingency plans in place for such emergencies. They urged authorities to ensure the seamless functioning of backup power supplies during emergencies.

Additionally, a netizen pointed out the absence of emergency breakout lights or exit lights in the lobby and highlighted the extreme danger posed when crowded in such conditions.

Security concerns arise as expert highlights border entry points’ electrical vulnerability

Separately, according to a criminology expert, Shahul Hamid Abd Rahim, the recent electrical supply disruption at CIQ BSI underscores the critical need for temporary electrical backup systems at vital locations like border entry points while awaiting the restoration of the primary system.

Expressing concern, he warned that prolonged disruptions might invite exploitation by parties seeking to engage in criminal activities such as smuggling, posing potential threats to national security.

During an interview with Malaysian media outlet Berita Harian, Shahul emphasized that such power outages should not endure for an extended period, requiring overnight recovery.

He highlighted the importance of the responsible ministry conducting regular inspections and assessments in managing facilities at the country’s primary entry points.

“It’s extremely embarrassing if this weakness is not rectified, especially since it involves users from neighbouring countries.”

“We cannot take lightly the matter of facilities at the country’s border entry points because it reflects the country’s administrative face,” Shahul added.

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