Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’

Interpol attacks Malaysian Home Minister while Defence Ministry backtracks

March 29, 2014

I don’t think the Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi can win this one. He was the one who first rushed to judgement and blamed (his own) immigration officers for incompetence in  not being able to detect “Asian looking” people carrying stolen European passports.

On Wednesday, Zahid told Parliament that consulting the Interpol database of of 40.2 million stolen passports was too time consuming for immigration officers and caused airport delays. The Malay Mail Online reported that Zahid maintained Malaysia’s immigration department had matched “world standards” when carrying out border control. He reportedly said immigration officers guarding Malaysia’s entry points were trained by other countries including the US, UK, Australia and Canada to carry out profiling and detect false travel documents.

In other words says Malaysiakini he maintains that:
Interpol has a facility that is inadequate. Hence the world is not secure from potential terrorists and illegals from easily entering nations with fake documents. Malaysia cannot be blamed. ….. The home minister’s claim certainly smacks of a failed if not an unreliable and impractical system being provided by Interpol. Hence Malaysia has taken an official stand why it has not and probably will not use Interpol’s SLTD and thus absolves itself of any blame for allowing would-be terrorists and illegal travels to depart from Malaysia on-board its national carrier to any destination in the world serviced by the airlines.
But Interpol has not taken this lying down. They have issued a press release rejecting Malaysia’s claim and they take the Malaysian Home Minister severely to task in less than diplomatic language:
Malaysia’s decision not to consult INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database before allowing travellers to enter the country or board planes cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or INTERPOL. If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia’s Immigration Department.
INTERPOL’s SLTD database takes just seconds to reveal whether a passport is listed, with recent tests providing results in 0.2 seconds.
The fact is that the US consults this database more than 230 million times per year; the UK more than 140 million times; the UAE more than 100 million times and Singapore more than 29 million times. Not one of these countries, or indeed any INTERPOL member country, has ever stated that the response time is too slow.
The truth is that in 2014 prior to the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, Malaysia’s Immigration Department did not conduct a single check of passengers’ passports against INTERPOL’s databases. ….. 
In this regard, despite this unjustified attack on INTERPOL, we remain ready, willing and able to help Malaysia better safeguard its citizens and visitors from those seeking to use stolen or fraudulently altered passports to board planes.
INTERPOL has no idea why Malaysia’s Home Minister chooses to attack INTERPOL instead of learning from this tragedy.
After years of witnessing countries fail to consult INTERPOL’s SLTD database prior to allowing travellers to cross borders and board planes, INTERPOL created I-Checkit which will allow airlines and cruise lines to ensure that no passenger can use a stolen or lost passport registered in INTERPOL’s database to board one of their planes or ships.
In the meantime the Malaysian Ministry of Defence is struggling to explain why they did not detect MH370 flying back through Malaysian airspace. The Deputy Defence Minister first came up with the story that it had been detected but was assumed to be following Air Traffic Control’s directions.

the malaysian insider: ….. deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri told Parliament today . “It was detected by our radar, but the turn back was by a non-hostile plane and we thought maybe it was at the directive of the control tower,” he said in winding up points raised by MPs on the King’s royal address.

But on the next day he had to backtrack,

malay mail online: “In relation to my statement in the debate on the royal address in Parliament last night (March 26, 2014) which said the MH370 flight may have turned back after receiving orders from the control centre. I wish to explain that it was only my andaian (assumption) and also possibilities that could have occurred. After carrying out checks, I wish to stress that my assumption was not accurate,” Abdul Rahim said in a two-paragraph statement issued by the Defence Ministry.

So it still remains unclear as to why the Malaysian military did not detect or did not react to the aircraft crossing over the country.

“Asians” were travelling on two of the stolen European passports on MH370

March 10, 2014

The Malaysian Home Minister is embarrassed.

But in good politician style he will find others to pass the buck on to. In this case he is passing responsibility on to his immigration staff. He “slammed Immigration officials for not conducting proper passport checks, and identified the two passengers who were travelling on stolen passports as “Asians”. He clearly believes in racial profiling and probably has not heard about how many Europeans today are of “Asian” origin.  A special investigation – or will it be a witch-hunt? – is under-way. There is little doubt that a scapegoat within the immigration department will be found. And I would venture to predict that the staff found to be blamed will be of Chinese or Indian ethnicity.

Malaysian Insider: The Home Minister slammed Immigration officials for not conducting proper passport checks, and identified the two passengers who were travelling on stolen passports as “Asians”. Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid  Hamidi  hit out at the Immigration officers allowing two “Asian” men with European identities to board the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370. 

“I am puzzled how come (immigration officers) cannot think, Italian and Austrian (passengers) but with Asian facial features,” he was quoted saying by national news agency Bernama, adding that an internal investigation of the Immigration Department has commenced.  

“The investigation would give special attention to the department’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) branch. “We will conduct an internal probe, particularly of the officers who were on duty at the KLIA Immigration counter during flight MH370.”
Ahmad Zahid said the investigation was being conducted by a special team led by Immigration Department director-general Datuk Aloyah Mamat.

It is now thought that “only” two passengers were using false passports and not four. Small comfort!

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