PETALING JAYA: Retired brigadier-general Mohd Arshad Raji has questioned the need for establishing a border security agency, saying it “doesn’t make sense” at a time when the government should be cutting spending.
Commenting on Tuesday’s tabling of the Malaysian Border Security Agency Bill 2017, Arshad told FMT he saw no reason for replacing the current system, which has been in place for more than three decades.
The bill seeks the establishment of a border security agency that will have the participation of 18 government agencies to secure land borders against illegal activities such as smuggling and human trafficking.
Arshad pointed out that border security was traditionally the responsibility of the military, police and other security forces.
“There is already an army border brigade to handle some of the functions outlined for the proposed agency,” he said.
“What is needed is to identify the weaknesses of the current structure and to fortify it. We don’t need to create a new agency.”
He said the creation of a new agency could lead to a duplication of duties while adding to the burden of taxpayers.
Those to be recruited into the border security agency will come from the Prime Minister’s Department, National Security Council, National Anti-Drug Agency, National Kenaf and Tobacco Board, the police force, the internal security, customs and immigration departments, and various ministries.
Arshad, however, lauded the bill’s inclusion of protection for informers in civil and criminal proceedings as well as the recognition of evidence from agents provocateurs.
“That’s good, but we can do all this without creating a new agency at the expense of taxpayers,” he said.
Arshad last served as the army chief of staff for field headquarters.