(It is not the first time the Malaysian authorities had some differences with Interpol. This is from the Wikipedia – Journalist Hamza Kashgari, who in February 2012 fled his home country of Saudi Arabia to avoid prosecution for apostasy, and was subsequently arrested in Malaysia. The Royal Malaysian Police initially asserted that they had arrested Kashgari because they had received an Interpol Red Notice request to do so. However, Interpol stated that no such notice had been issued, and the Malaysian police retracted their claim. Image source: http://www.intelligence-sec.com)
I still recall the comment made over Business Week on how Malaysian authorities initial handling of the MH370 crisis:-
“They’re handling a huge global issue as if it was domestic politics,”
We have made some positive progress on how we handle things but then again, somehow the above statement still lingers on with this:-
On Wednesday Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told parliament in Kuala Lumpur that consulting the database was too time consuming for immigration officers and caused airport delays. Interpol shot back saying Malaysia’s decision to not consult the database before allowing travellers to enter the country or board planes ‘cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or Interpol’.
“If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia’s Immigration Department,” the France-based organisation said.
Interpol said that it takes “just seconds to reveal whether a passport is listed, with recent tests providing results in 0.2 seconds”. While some countries consult the database more than a hundred million times a year, “in 2014 prior to the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysia’s Immigration Department did not conduct a single check of passengers’ passports against Interpol’s databases,” the agency said.
“Had Malaysia consulted Interpol’s database, the fact that both passengers were using stolen passports would have been discovered almost instantaneously,” it added.
No thanks to the Minister who had discounted the Interpol with flimsy reasons, you now know why Malaysia looks really stupid and seemed incompetent in handling it’s affairs?
Well, shame on us because Malaysia given the available money for overseas shopping & expensive up-keeping of pandas (that will never belong to us in the end), there seems to be a severe lack of money to beef up the necessary technology and the infrastructure for national security.
Well, shame on us again because our own neighbor down south, Singapore is one of about 70 member states of Interpol that actually cross checks with Interpol database and yet I have not seen any airport delays when I flew in onto Singapore (on the contrary to the excuse given by Malaysia that the checking against the Interpol database will cause airport delays). The last time I went, it hardly took a minute for immigration clearance.
In fact, I have held up for almost a minute or two at immigration counters in some airports in some countries but I have no complaints on such delays. The strictness is inconvenient but highly understandable. The same should apply the same for foreigners coming in to this country. Why we are worried of causing inconvenient of a few seconds to foreigners but causes a major inconvenient to the national security on the long run. Interpol says the latest test shows that it only takes 0.2 seconds.
Even if the immigration department decided not to connect to the Interpol database for cross checking on the travel documents, there is still one mystery that remains unresolved, remains unanswered.
The two Iranians came in using Iranian passport but left on stolen Austrian & Italian passports. Didn’t the immigration department captured the two Iranians biometric and passport details when they entered? Then why the same verification was done when they departed? The system would have flagged the different passport for the same biometrics and the immigration department could have stopped the 2 Iranians on the spot. Further, wouldn’t that “internal” verification been faster than connecting to Interpol database? So, why this has not been done and the only excuse that the Minister can come up is that verification is time consuming & it causes airport delays – an excuse that implies that national security can take the back seat as long as there are no delays at the airport.
Thus no wonder there has been nothing but brickbats for the Home Minister in this aspect.
From Malaysian Insider:-
Notice their culture of always blaming someone else for their own laziness. Until today none has step forward to assume responsibility. Even the RMAF being keeping quiet hoping that no one will bring up their failure in protecting our airspace.
Right now their own incompetence stood out like a sore thumb yet they are unaware the world is watching them with disbelief. Plane turn back in distress, the deputy minister simply shot an unbelievable cooked up answer. Not a tinge of remorseful but continue trying to lie their way out.
It is just the way BN government handles politics. Never their fault always someone else’s fault. Never admit mistake always someone else’s mistake. Even worse while not admitting to mistake our minister have the face to criticise and blame the Chinese press, the Interpol etc.
Some of our ministers are still living in the days of typewriters and cabinet filing!
And from Malaysiakini:-
Again caught with our pants down. It shows the Immigrations is not bothered, do not know or understand the Interpol database and yet have not cared to inform or consult Interpol about their problem. For Zahid to immediately blame Interpol and be defensive also shows he has not bothered to check and find out the truth. This is typical of arrogant BN ministers. They always get away with stupid excuses inside Malaysia but are made to look foolish when it comes to international issues.
Immigration is compromised, security is compromised. No wonder we have so many illegal immigrants here with their families.
MH370 may have just opened the can of worms in Malaysian accountability, transparency and responsibility out into the open and simply reinforces the missing notion of a Ministerial responsibility, which remains an alien concept and illusive in this country, to remain unchanged until we see a complete shakedown of the Government. We are waiting to see what excuse the Minister will come up in light of the Interpol’s revelations. Hopefully he will admit the shortcomings and move on with concrete actions to address the shortcomings and not come up with another flimsy, stupid and illogical excuses.