PUTRAJAYA – The issue of the integrity of officers and personnel at all national entry points should be handled appropriately so as not to jeopardise the image and create a prejudice against the government’s enforcement efforts, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the issue was among the recommendations agreed upon at the High Level Committee (HLC) meeting on the Security of Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security Complex (ICQS) in Kedah, which he chaired at the Parliament House, Kuala Lumpur today.
To reinforce the capabilities of all enforcement agencies in implementing their respective functions at the complex, the meeting agreed that screening equipment such as scanners were tested for their effectiveness and ensured the closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) had a high resolution and were functioning well, he said.
“This is to ensure that a detailed and effective inspection can be implemented to detect any smuggling activities at the complex,” said Ahmad Zahid in a statement after the meeting.
He said any equipment or system that was technologically obsolete would also be upgraded in line with current developments.
Ahmad Zahid said other recommendations included emulating the best practices of border control applications implemented in foreign countries which would serve as a benchmark to improve existing facilities and to adapt to domestic needs.
In addition, he said the structure of the existing enforcement agencies would be streamlined including aspects of legal improvements and standard operating procedures (SOPs) which included coordination of SOP between agencies and cargo management SOPs.
According to Ahmad Zahid, the meeting focused on aspects of security at the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICQS in line with the government’s ongoing efforts to empower the level of security at the country’s gateways.
He said the move was also in preparation for the decision of the Cabinet meeting on Feb 15 which agreed to extend to 24-hour a day the operations at national key gateways beginning with the Bukit Kayu Hitam ICQS and Padang Besar ICQS, Perlis.
Starting Jan 1, 2019, he said the border gate operations at Bukit Kayu Hitam ICQS would be open 24 hours a day when the second phase of the complex’s construction project would be fully completed on Dec 31, 2018.
Ahmad Zahid said the position of the Bukit Kayu Hitam’s ICQS was quite different from other key national gateways as it was located far from the border of Malaysia and Thailand.
“This is is because of the existence of the Bukit Kayu Hitam Duty Free Complex which is located near the border area.
“This facility enables foreign visitors to enter Malaysia to buy goods at the Duty Free Complex without undergoing ICQS inspection,” he explained.
In this regard, he said the Kedah state government would cooperate with the Federal Government to ensure that the safety at Bukit Kayu Hitam ICQS was always assured for the public.
Ahmad Zahid said although the facility could contribute to the country’s economy, its challenge to enforcement agencies was to ensure security, in particular, cross-border crime elements such as drug trafficking, subsidised goods, weapons, migrants and human trafficking, was not compromised. – BERNAMA