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Details of new airport security screening still being studied

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PETALING JAYA – December 21, 2017: The government is still looking at the mechanics of the proposed Advance Passenger Security Screening System (APSS) for airports, with Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi today saying that no final decision has been made.

This follows a poser on whether the system and the fee to undergo another layer of screening will hike the price of air fares for inbound travellers.

Zahid spoke to reporters after he had opened the new factory of Malaysia’s passport manufacturer, Datasonic Group Berhad.

News on the implementation of the APSS was first reported in July, when Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad said the screening system will be applied to all airports as soon as possible.

He then explained that the APSS will help provide background information in advance of each visitor boarding a plane to come to this country to enable the authorities to conduct screening.

While Zahid and Nur Jazlan did not disclose any key information regarding the APSS, it is believed that inbound travellers will have to pay about RM35.

Describing the system as mind-boggling, journalist-blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan wrote that the system was akin to the recently scrapped umrah pilgrims registration system or Imams.

“APPS is a scheme to charge inbound passengers a ‘token’ sum, this time in the name of homeland security. My sources say the Cabinet approved this recently and a company was awarded the concession for 15 years.

“Was there a tender? I’m not sure but what I know is that the project implementation cost is in the region of RM8 billion. Who’s going to pay for this?” asked Ahirudin.

He also said that there should be no need for APSS to be implemented as Malaysia has one of the best homeland security records in the region.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission, in response to a query, clarified that the system does not fall under its purview.

“It (APSS) falls under the purview of the home ministry as this is a matter of border security,” it said.

Zahid also revealed that the new Malaysian passport will come with enhanced security features that comply with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Document 9303.

The features include an embedded chip in the polycarbonate in the biodata page, three coloured security stitching threads stitched with black sewn lock.

The authenticity of the passport can also be verified with the use of ultraviolet light.

Those who renew their passports will get the new ones in just 15 minutes whereas new applicants will get theirs within an hour.

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Zaidi Azmi and Ahirul Ahirudin