‘Shootout wasn’t an option’

Business as usual: The usual sight of crowds of travellers were spotted at KLIA yesterday, just a day after the shooting. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

SEPANG: When a suspect is armed, the number one priority is to always save lives, even if that means not firing in return.

That is why the police did not directly engage the man who fired his gun at a woman in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday – the main concern then was to prevent more casualties, said Selangor’s chief of police.

Comm Datuk Hussein Omar Khan, when met yesterday at the KLIA police headquarters, said he was aware members of the public were questioning the initial actions taken by the authorities in their immediate response during the incident on April 14.“It was better that we remove him from the area and save the people there first. That was the best approach as opposed to us engaging with a suspect armed with a firearm,” he said.

When asked if the priority was the safety of those in the vicinity, Comm Hussein answered in the affirmative.

“If we had engaged the suspect, the situation could have worsened. That was a public space where people, including children, were present.

“So to me, the approach used during the response by both the police and airport authority was prompt and the best option,” said the state’s top cop.

Moving forward, Comm Hussein said that the police have suggested improvements to security measures at the airport.

“As previously stated by Bukit Aman CID (Criminal Investigation Department) director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain, we will re-examine measures to prevent incidents like this.

“Airports have the ‘airside’ and ‘landside’, and it’s very clear that the airside is a restricted area. But the landside is open to the public.

“For example, if one were to bring fireworks, it would be the same as if one were bringing them into a public space. So maybe there needs to be tightening (of measures) in that area,” he said.He added that he was also of the opinion that the traffic lane closest to the entry doors of the arrival and departure lobbies poses potential security risks.

“Someone can just park their vehicle, enter, and throw something (inside). So that is a big security risk.

“That inner lane shouldn’t be open to the public. And this has been brought up by the police in the past,” he said.

Among the more immediate responses to the incident will be the use of police officers patrolling on motorised personal scooters at airports.

“Increasing efficiency, be it for the airport authority or the police, is always something that we discuss, and one of the areas of improvement is the use of self-controlled scooters.

“This actually had already been planned early in the year, and the state government had agreed to purchase them for our use.

“We will get these scooters in the near future. With them, we can respond faster and cover more ground during patrols,” he said.

On installing metal scanners at all airport entry points, Comm Hussein said the decision is up to the airport’s management.

“Anything can happen because members of the public can enter without tight checks. It is not like other airports overseas, which have scanners before entering.

“Even if someone were to enter carrying fireworks, we would not be able to detect them.

“This is one aspect that I believe airports are studying with the relevant ministries to limit or have some control over.

This is what we want to see moving forward,” he said.

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PDRM , KLIA , violence , shooting , police


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