PUTRAJAYA, Nov 2 — Acknowledging its porous borders, the Home Ministry announced today the set-up of a new agency to guard the country’s entry and exit points in an effort to deal with the rise of a growing smuggling industry that has racked up losses of RM5 billion worth of subsidised goods to date.
Announcing the move today, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the agency will be manned by some 10,000 officials who will be taken from the armed forces, the general operation force of the police and the Smuggling Prevention Unit (UPP).
“We will begin the smuggling control, as well as [the issues of] illegal immigrants and human trafficking, which will be handled by this agency,” he said in a news conference after a high level committee meeting here.
“We are also concerned of the security fences of the borders as brought up by the news. We realise there have been many spots penetrated. For this, there will be an electronics system replacement including the use of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) and drones used for those areas,” he added.
Ahmad Zahid said that the UPP had previously only had 909 officers, and with the consolidation under the agency, units can be mobilised to secure posts in alternate shifts and postings.
He added that effective today, the director general of the UPP will assume the post as director general of the Border Security Agency.
“More than the RM5 billion subsidised goods are smuggled out, therefore the agency should begin their task as soon as possible,” he said.
He also said that there were currently more than 1,200 spots where smuggling was rampant at the peninsular border alone and that the ministry was looking into working together with Sabah and Sarawak on strengthening borders there as well as it was out of his ministry’s jurisdiction.
In other developments, Zahid said that the tabling of the National Security Council Bill is only expected during the next sitting of Parliament.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced two weeks ago that a National Security Council Bill was being mulled to to establish the existing National Security Council by way of law to strengthen security measures amid terrorism threats both from within and outside the country.