MIRI: The Immigration Department will likely take up a lawyer’s suggestion to open up a designated counter for oil and gas (O&G) workers clearance at Miri Airport, said Miri MP Chiew Choon Man.
He said this step can help prevent disruption at the queue of commercial airline passengers due to bottleneck at the immigration clearance counters.
“I have posted the suggestions from the AAS head to open a special counter to handle O&G workers and the officers are open to the suggestions and will be making some improvements by opening another counter just for them,” said Chiew.
He was asked to comment on Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) president Gurvir Singh Sandhu’s complaint of commercial airlines passengers feeling treated unfairly as oil and gas workers were given priority in clearance.
The lawyer said he personally witnessed on May 10 that a group was given immediate clearance, leaving commercial airlines passengers aghast and unhappy as they had to line up and wait for their turn.
The MP said he had checked with the Immigration Department officers and was told that the officers at the time were trying to expedite the clearance of O&G workers to ensure they have valid work pass before going offshore.
Gurvir said the incident happened at 8.30am, when the airport’s immigration clearance area was packed with passengers lining up to catch two flights to Kuala Lumpur.
He said the group of O&G workers was seen sitting outside the immigration clearance area, and suddenly, without having to line up with the other passengers, was brought to the front of the line.
When he inquired with the relevant immigration officer for the reason of this preferential treatment, he said he was told to “go and check with my boss”.
Gurvir stressed such policy is unfair as other passengers made sure they arrived at the airport on time and lined up systemically but were then made to wait because the O&G workers were allowed to cut in front of them.
He suggested that the department open a specially designated counter for such category of passengers.
The Borneo Post has reached out to Immigration Department for comments yesterday but has yet to receive any response.
The Borneo Post