PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA: The Customs Department has installed special X-ray scanning machines at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to put an end to the smuggling of drugs or weapons by international syndicates.
Director-General Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid said the machines, each costing RM4 million, would be installed in stages at other airports and strategic locations in the country.
The increase in the number of cases of drug smuggling at airports prompted the department to take proactive measure.
"With these machines, our officers will be able to trace drugs, even those swallowed by smugglers in an attempt to evade detection. There is no way drug mules can pass the lines at our airports any more."
The four machines at KLIA were installed two days ago. "We will have state-of-the-art technology in areas where smuggling is rampant."
Abdul Rahman said Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB) would cooperate with the department in turning KLIA into a drug-free airport.
"MAB will provide advance passenger information to enable us to do risk management and monitoring."
Speaking after a meeting with the British High Commissioner to Malaysia at his office yesterday, Abdul Rahman said the machines would complement the efforts of officers .
"We have our rover team of plainclothes personnel at KLIA who are alert to the body language of suspicious passengers. The machines will complement their efforts to cripple syndicates or unwarranted operations."
Before the purchase of the machines, the department reported 18 cases of drug smuggling at various locations from early this year.
In KLIA alone, seven attempts to smuggle drugs were foiled, with the arrest of seven people and seizure of more than 60kg of drugs, including 140,000 Eramin-5 tablets, worth more than RM8 million.
Last year, 13 cases were reported, with the value of drugs seized about RM4.5 million.
Abdul Rahman said there had been no breach of security at the department's strongroom in Nilai where seized drugs were kept.
"Our standard operating procedures for seized consignments are strict. Only one officer is authorised to keep the strongroom key."