PUTRAJAYA: Smugglers and tontos beware. Customs officers will be even more prepared now with a fleet of new modified vehicles when facing “foes” at the country’s border points.
A total of 80 new Isuzu D-Max 3.0 four-wheel drives were handed over by the department to its enforcement division officers yesterday.
Customs director-general Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy said the new vehicles were fitted with bull bars and video cameras that not only recorded visuals but audio as well.
“The basic cost is RM90,000 per vehicle. We fitted cameras on each vehicle so that in the event of an untoward incident, we will have audio-visual evidence to take legal action.
“Our officers’ safety is our utmost priority and considering we have an average of 40 cases annually where our officers’ safety is threatened, these new vehicles are a wise investment,” he said after presenting the vehicles at the Customs headquarters here yesterday.
Subromaniam also said most of the vehicles would be sent to the border areas in Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Perak and Johor, while the rest would be distributed to the other states.
“With these new vehicles, we hope to better protect our officers and motivate them to conduct their duties without fear or favour.
“I am also warning the smugglers and tontos – stop your criminal acts or be prepared to face stern action,” he said.
According to Customs statistics, about 150 cases of enforcement officers being threatened or injured in the line of duty were recorded between 2013 and last year.
One of the more shocking incidents was in October last year, when Customs and Excise enforcement officer Anisah Ali was killed.
She and two male colleagues were chasing two vans suspected of carrying smuggled cigarettes in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, when a four-wheel drive driven by a tonto rammed the Customs vehicle, causing it to skid and crash into a tree.
Anisah, 54, was rushed to hospital, where she slipped into a coma and died the next day.