PASIR MAS: Deputy Prime MinisterDr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today said the Home Ministry will continue intensifying control over Malaysia-Thailand border crossings, especially in Kelantan, to combat smuggling.
Zahid, who is also home minister, said there were 10,000 security forces personnel stationed at border areas right now to combat the smuggling of persons, firearms and drugs.
“Prior to this, there were only 997 members of the Anti-Smuggling Unit (now known as Malaysian Border Security Agency or Aksem) at border areas, but now, there are 10,000 members.
“I have (also) mobilised members of the General Operations Force, with one team taking turns every month (for the purpose),” he said at the Leader-Meets-People programme and the opening of the Rantau Panjang Umno delegates’ meeting at Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara here today.
About 15,000 people attended the programme, including Kelantan Umno Liaison Committee Chairman Mustapa Mohamed and his deputy; Ahmad Jazlan Yaakob; Rantau Panjang Umno Chief Senator Abdullah Mat Yassin; Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed; Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki; and Kelantan Federal Development Department Director Makhtar Mustapha.
Ahmad Zahid said standard operating procedures (SOP) for each permanent staff of Aksem had also been improved by transferring them once every three months to prevent them from forging ties with smugglers.
The deputy prime minister said many quarters had questioned the level of security in border areas without knowing the difficulties faced by the government in implementing the tasks.
“Our border covers a distance of 776km. Some say why can’t we have a wall or fence, but the problem is that the smugglers will cut it.”
Meanwhile, he also advised residents living along border areas to give priority in hiring local workers instead of foreigners in a bid to prevent smuggling activities from becoming rampant.
“If we deem this our home, then we should prioritise hiring local workers. Any jobs must be given to our own people, and don’t go working with the smugglers.”