WANG KELIAN – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has suggested the building of a special import-expprt warehouse at the Malaysia-Thailand border to curb smuggling.
He said this irresponsible activity (smuggling) was the main threat to the economy and the source of other problems in the country, hence a more practical mechanism was needed as a solution.
“If there is a special warehouse for traders to do the import-export processes, I think it will be easier for smuggling activities to be controlled,” he told Bernama during his visit to the Wang Kelian Immigration post, near the border, recently.
“The smugglers nowadays use container lorries and hang onions to mean that the lorries are bringing in or exiting with the commodity, but among the boxes or gunny sacks are those that contain other things.
“A risky route becomes an easy one for entry and exit for the purpose of smuggling if more proactive measures are not taken, as various modus operandi are being used by smugglers to avoid detection by the authorities,” he said.
Shahidan said the current process of unloading and loading goods should be upgraded to make it more systematic.
“Currently, the goods, for example, onions, are transferred directly from one lorry to another without going through the process of recording the amount and the type of goods.
“Indirectly, this method provides an opportunity for criminals to illegally bring in certain goods….this is what we don’t want. They should do business the proper way and follow the procedures.”
Shahidan, who is also chairman of the National Security Council, said there was also the need to increase manpower at the border area to intensify monitoring of smuggling activities.
“I have asked the authorities at the headquarters to do this and we’ve agreed to involve Rela and the Civil Defence Department members to assist in the surveillance of entry routes to the border area,” he said.
Shahidan said with the good cooperation given by the Thai authorities, combating smuggling, especially of drugs, would be more effective.
He also proposed that the route in the free zone to the market at the border here that was nullified on April 1 last year, be reopened for business activities.
“In my opinion, an open movement of people right before the authorities is controllable. This will also benefit the people and country economically, including the tourism sector,” he said.
Shahidan said he would discuss with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to reopen the zone.
“If there’s no threat to the people’s security, the Home Ministry should be able to consider this matter fast.
“The discovery of the skeletal remains of 106 victims of a human trafficking syndicate last year was not made in this zone (trade route) where there was security surveillance by the authorities, but in the forest area,” he said.