KUCHING: Sophisticated scanning and X-ray machines will soon be placed at every customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) complex around the country to improve border security.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said it was time for the Government to consider the use of the machines as the current manual scanning by customs and immigration officers at the CIQs took a long time and might miss something.
He was speaking in light of the increasing shooting cases in the country, especially in the peninsula, where he said many of the firearms used by suspects were illegal and smuggled through the border with Thailand.
“I have proposed to the Home Ministry to set up these machines at every CIQ to enhance smuggling prevention. On average, about 1,800 lorries cross the border near Kelantan from Thailand per day. With the current facilities we have, it would take two hours to go through each lorry but with the sophisticated scanning machines, maybe between five and 10 minutes,” he told reporters during his Hari Raya open house here yesterday.
He revealed that the authorities issued about 70,000 firearm licences to date, and had concluded that firearms used in criminal activities such as the recent shooting cases were not from the ones with permits.
“The authorities don’t issue a lot of these firearm licences, including pistols, shotguns and sport guns. Nationwide, the Government only issued about 70,000 firearm licences. So our ratio to population is still small. These licensed and registered firearms were never used for crime.
“This means the firearms used for crimes and the recent shooting cases were smuggled through the border. We investigated that most are smuggled through the southern Thailand border. So what is important is to beef up our border security because we have been quite lenient all this while,” said Wan Junaidi.
He said a study had been done and his ministry would present the findings and several proposals, including the sophisticated scanning machines, to the Cabinet.
Wan Junaidi said budgets and allocations should not be an issue when it came to the country’s security.
He also advised the public not to overreact and blow the shooting cases out of proportion because as far as the country was concerned, compared to other developing and developed countries, shooting cases in Malaysia were still very low.
In fact, he explained that the shooting cases in the country were not random as suspects only picked specific targets.
“Therefore, these shooting cases happened because of certain reasons. I cannot reveal the details, especially police investigations. There are related backgrounds to the cases and the police are still investigating and compiling.”
While the country’s entry points had yet to be equipped with the sophisticated scanning machines, Wan Junaidi said the police had been working efficiently and very hard in tracking these illegal firearms.
He said between 2011 and 2012, the police had confiscated some 400 illegal firearms.