Revamp on security protocols at entry points nationwide, says Zahid

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New security protocols will be implemented at entry points nationwide, following an instruction by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a day after the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, said a report.

Astro Awani quoted Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that this would include revising the standard operating procedure (SOP) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

"As mentioned by the prime minister, we are revisiting our SOPs, especially the security protocols at our entry points, especially at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

"Najib had ordered a review of all protocols and to improve them if necessary,” Zahid told reporters at the Royal Malaysia Police College yesterday.

Zahid said the immigration system would be improved throught the advanced passenger screening system, or APSS, which “will be in place by the middle of June”.

“I reckon after that directive, the police has made extra effort together with Malaysia Airports Berhad, the Immigration Department and Malaysia Airlines in order to translate the implementation of new security protocols at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport,” said Zahid.

Malaysia had come under fire from Intepol for not checking a database before allowing travellers to enter the country or board planes. Zahid had told Parliament that consulting the database was too time consuming for immigration officers and would cause delays.

"If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia's Immigration Department," Interpol said.

Days after flight MH370 was reported missing, it was revealed that two Iranians had boarded the jet using stolen passports. The duo were later cleared of any terrorism links.

Interpol said that it takes "just seconds to reveal whether a passport is listed, with recent tests providing results in 0.2 seconds".

Zahid was also asked on the air force's failure to act on an unidentified aircraft picked up by its radar on the day of MH370's disappearance. He said the matter was under the authority of the Department of Civil Aviation and Transport Ministry, and added he did not want to interfere.

“When I was Defence Minister, the air force was given the responsibility to intercept any foreign element, but not commercial aircraft, because the primary radar is able to identify between a jet fighter, military aircraft and commercial aircraft.

“So I don’t want to enter into somebody else’s responsibilities. Let us concentrate on the Home Affairs Ministry,” he was quoted as saying in the Astro Awani report.

“The DCA and police are also doing everything they can. The details of their investigations will definitely be revealed once they are completed,” Zahid said.

Zahid also praised acting Transport Minister and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for his handling of the crisis, saying appointing him for the task "was an excellent approach and decision by the Prime Minister".

There has been no trace of flight MH370 which vanished on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 passengers and crew members. A multinational search effort, on its 23rd day today, is now focused in the southern Indian Ocean, some 1500 kilometres from Perth, Australia. – March 30, 2014.