Malaysia mulls stricter airport entry

By P Prem Kumar

KUALA LUMPUR (AA) – Malaysia’s government has announced a plan to bar everyone except passengers and employees from its major airports to enhance security amid a rise in global terror attacks.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters Friday that the government is considering a proposal to allow only those flying to enter terminals in Malaysia, with those seeing them off gathered outside the building or allowed to solely group at one particular place.

“The cabinet had instructed Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai to work out this proposal with airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad. Hopefully it can be implemented soon,” he said.

Hamidi said the ministry was also asked to find a mechanism to ensure that vehicles sending off or waiting for air passengers would not park near the terminal.

Security is to be tightened at all 23 Malaysian airports nationwide, including increasing the number of police and military personnel deployed, he underlined.

Measures to be taken include the purchase of sophisticated devices such as high-definition CCTVs and facial recognition equipment.

“I sincerely hope that other ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries would also tighten security at their respective airports,” Hamidi added.

On Thursday, 84 people were killed celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, while an attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey in June left 45 people dead and wounded hundreds.

The attack in Nice was the first since the Nov. 13 attack in Paris in 2015, while the Istanbul attack was the deadliest in a series of bombings in Turkey this year.