KUALA LUMPUR: When it comes to airport security, many Malaysians feel that giving up a little comfort is better than risking serious harm.
Although invasive, stricter baggage checks are seen as a necessary step to combat drug trafficking attempts.
“If it helps to keep the streets clean of drugs, I don't mind waiting slightly longer,” said chef Lim Sue Yin, 25, who travels by air regularly.
“As long as it prevents vice in the long run, I am for it.”
It was reported that the Customs Department was proposing more stringent procedures for its officers to search luggage for drugs.
This could cause KL International Airport passengers delayed for up to an hour after their arrival.
However, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad and the department are thinking of ways to ensure that any inconvenience will be kept to the minimum.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Trade Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said the new procedures would only seriously affect drug traffickers and not deter tourists.
“Malaysia has been noted for drug trafficking for too long.
“We have to show that we are serious about tackling the issue,” said Mohd Khalid, who is also Federation of Asean Travel Associations president.
He added that similar strict measures were being implemented in other Asean countries, such as the Philippines.
Tourism Malaysia acting director-general Datuk Azizan Noordin said the extra checks were for the benefit of Malaysians.
“The country's security and image are very important,” he said.
However, not all air travellers are supportive of the idea.
Internet entrepeneur Edmund Loh, 25, who flies from KLIA up to nine times a year, said he was strongly against the proposal.
“I am all for Customs regulating airport safety.
“However, to catch drug traffickers, who are a tiny minority, at the expense of a largely innocent crowd of passengers does not sound like a good idea.”
Project engineer T. Kamahlaan, 27, said he felt that the airport security here was adequate, and longer checks would inconvenience passengers.
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