Some 365 foreign visitors denied entry during KLIA system glitch

pic by TMR FILE

A TOTAL of 365 foreign visitors were issued Not to Land (NTL) notices by the Immigration Department of Malaysia during the technical failure and systems disruption at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last August.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (picture) said the Immigration Department had stepped up all control measures during the total airport management system (TAMS) breakdown and had ensured that the country’s entry points were not compromised for the sake of national security.

“The Home Affairs Ministry and the Immigration made sure that security aspects were not compromised and all entry points were constantly monitored during the disruption at KLIA and KLIA2 last August,” he said during question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Mohd Azis said this in reply to Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad (Barisan Nasional [BN]-Parit Sulong) in relation to statistics on foreign tourist entry into the country during the incident.

Mohd Azis said according to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s records, some 368,042 foreign visitors arrived at KLIA and KLIA2 from Aug 21-25, while 347,981 foreign visitors departed via the two airports during the period. TAMS breakdown was reported during that time.

The TAMS failure affected key functions such as WiFi connectivity, flight information display system, check-in counter and luggage handling systems.

Meanwhile, Mohd Azis said claims that the government facilitated the granting of citizenship status to tourists from China and Hong Kong were untrue.

“Let me emphasise that Malaysian citizenship is the highest award to a deserving applicant, and granting this award is the exclusive right of the federal government,” he said in reply to a question from Awang Hashim (PAS-Pendang) on the matter.

Separately, Mohd Azis said police personnel can inspect mobile phones belonging to individuals to ensure there are no forms of communications that are obscene, offensive, or threatening to the security of the people and nation.

He said the matter was allowed to maintain public order in accordance with the provisions under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

“However, the public should be aware of their rights during a random check, including requesting the identity of the police officer conducting the search for record purposes, in case there is a breach of the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” he said when replying a question by Chan Ming Kai (Pakatan Harapan-Alor Setar).

Chan wanted to know if there were any reports on SOPs violations by police personnel while inspecting the mobile phones of members of the public.

Mohd Azis said if an individual felt the police personnel had violated any SOPs, they could report it to the nearest police station or at Bukit Aman.

He added that police would use any means including “phone bugging” or “tapping” to ensure investigations could be carried out in cases involving security.

“It does not matter if the person is a politician, a businessman or just anyone who is suspected of having the potential to breach security issues, I believe the police will take the appropriate action,” he said.

He said this in response to a question by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) on whether the police were bugging or tapping the phone communications of politicians from the Opposition.