Crime expert against 24-hour border opening

P-Sundramoorthy-borderPETALING JAYA: A criminologist has warned of increased security threats if the government decides to have the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Danok border gates open 24 hours a day, as proposed by Kedah Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah.

P Sundramoorthy, a professor at Universiti Sains Malaysia, said security was not guaranteed even under current restrictions.

“Even with the current restricted hours and stringent random checks, drugs, weapons and other contraband are still being smuggled through,” he told FMT.

He said there was also concern about human trafficking and the entry of militants into the country.

On Monday, a news report quoted Ahmad Bashah as saying that he was making the proposal in the interest of the Kedah economy. Keeping the gates open all day would boost tourism, he added.

But Sundramoorthy said manning a border 24 hours a day would have major cost implications. For example, he said, there would be a need for extra manpower and equipment.

“We already have a bloated civil service, and with the current economic climate, the government is trying to optimise its expenditure.

“I also think that when the border is open 24 hours a day, it would be more difficult to monitor corruption.

“So you will need even more anti-corruption officers to ensure there is no corruption because border crossings are hotspots for this.”

He added that safety and security shouldn’t be sacrificed for economic gain.

Last August, Berita Harian reported that smuggling and trespassing activities were continuing at the Bukit Kayu Hitam border and that smugglers and undocumented migrants were marking vulnerable points along the border.