Airport checks to be more stringent, says Anthony Loke

Checks on hand luggage at the airports will also be made more stringent. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Airports across the country have been asked to tighten security and review standard operating procedures (SOP) at VIP lanes.

This comes after allegations that millions in foreign currencies are being funnelled into the country through the airports, especially through the VIP lanes.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said checks on hand luggage at the airports would also be made more stringent.

He said he had asked Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to review the SOP regarding use of VIP lanes.

Loke claimed that under the previous administration those who used VIP lanes and rooms did not have to go through security or customs checks.

“I have asked MAHB to tighten up the rules concerning the use of VIP lanes. The usage has to be more regulated. Only selected people can use these lanes.

“Before this, there were also ministry officers using the lanes, aside from the ministers.

“We need a tighter procedure to ensure not everyone can use the lane,” he said at a press conference after a meeting with Mavcom and the chief executive officers of Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, and Air Asia here today.

Loke was asked to comment on steps the ministry had taken following revelations that millions in foreign currencies were funnelled through the airports.

The New Straits Times recently reported that investigators were hot on the trail of the US$12 million (RM49 million) said to belong to the government, but which allegedly found its way to the office of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO).

Authorities are also reportedly looking into how the stacks of cash could have been transported out of the source country into Malaysia undetected. Also in the scope of their probe are those who handled the money from start to end.

The case has led to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detaining Hasanah Ab Hamid on Aug 29 for the alleged misuse of funds meant for the May general election.

The former intelligence head under the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) was released yesterday after her six-day remand period over the corruption investigation expired.

However, her passport has been withheld.