KL airport security disabled: security chief

Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Source: Wikimedia

Around 15 Malaysian immigration officers have been sacked and dozens more have been suspended or redeployed after they appear to have sabotaged the Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s passport check for several years.

During that time both the UK and Australian governments raised their terror alerts for Malaysia, warning of possible strikes on Kuala Lumpur.

Kusmi said the internal probe found that international groups tampered with the KLIA’s system with the help of immigration and IT staff.

“All the officers and staff involved in the disciplinary action are from various support level service schemes, stationed at the main entrance gates into Malaysia,” the Immigration Director-General Sakib Kusmi told the media. He added that the officers might have had links to human traffickers.

Kusmi said the internal probe found that international groups tampered with the KLIA’s system with the help of immigration and IT staff.

“They deal online. The instructions come from overseas … they can manipulate our system from outside. You can see this in our computers — the cursor moves without someone operating it,” Sakib said.

Those involved are thought to have done it for financial gain.

Technical faults were regularly reported at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which resulted in hundreds of passengers at a time being sent through immigration without the normal checks. A three-month probe was launched.

The 15 suspects were in custody, while 14 more officers were suspended and another 20 personnel were being monitored by the immigration’s investigative team, he said.

“We also transferred 63 officers out of our headquarters in Putrajaya [federal administrative centre] and have prepared a new name list for personnel that are supposed to be stationed at airports,” Kusmi said.

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that around 100 people, including immigration staff, were believed to be involved in sabotaging the system, which checks if a passport had been reported lost or stolen.

Zahid, who is also the home minister, added that the investigation had set back efforts to upgrade the immigration computer system by at least half a year.

The myIMMs operating system had been found to have been deliberately taken offline once a day, forcing KLIA officers at passport control to manually check arrivals and departures.

“The syndicate … was able to control the movement of anyone entering or leaving the country,” Kusmi said.

It is alleged that many individuals on international watch lists could have travelled through Malaysia undetected.