Proposal to restrict airport transit period to 72 hours

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 17 Oct 2018

SEPANG (Bernama): A proposal has been made to restrict the transit period for passengers to 72 hours at the international zones of the KL International Airport (KLIA) and KL International Airport 2 (klia2) to prevent foreigners from making the zone their "home".

The recommendation was made at a recent meeting attended by the police, Malaysia Airports Holdings Behad (MAHB) and the National Security Division, said KLIA District Police chief ACP Zulkifli Adamsah.

He said the proposal came up in the wake of the police arrest of a Syrian man, Hassan Al-Kontar, on Oct 1 for having stayed at the klia2 restricted zone since March this year.

According to the proposal, any transit passenger who stays longer than 72 hours will be arrested by the Immigration Department, as no one is accorded immunity in the area, he said, adding that if no agency wants to act, then the police will do so.

“The international zones at KLIA and klia2 do not give any immunity to transit passengers. It does not mean that Malaysian authorities cannot act in the event a crime occurs there,” he said to reporters after an assembly to mark the first anniversary of the KLIA District Police headquarters here Wednesday (Oct 17).

According to records, between Jan 1 and Oct 15 this year, only Hassan was arrested for having overstayed illegally in the airport restricted zone, he said.

Zulkifli said Hassan, 36, was handed over to the Immigration authorities on Oct 5.

He said Hassan had earlier tried to enter Cambodia, but the country accorded him the “not to land” status and he was sent back to the last destination before Cambodia, which was Kuala Lumpur.

Hassan claimed that he stayed on at klia2 since March 7 because he feared he would be arrested if he returned to Syria. He said he does not wish to return to Syria, for fear that he will be forced to join the military.

However, he reportedly declined assistance from Malaysia and insisted on going to Canada.

During his “stay” at the airport, he had posted several video clips on his life there on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, which attracted the attention of human rights groups and the international media.


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