Government mulling high-technology scanners for smaller airports

MIRI: The government is looking into the possibility of equipping smaller airports in Sarawak and Sabah with high-tech scanners to beef up enforcement against drug smuggling, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said here yesterday.

He said the government needed to act quickly on this as drug smugglers were changing their tactic and smuggling drugs through smaller airports with no scanning facilities.

It will be top priority and I will propose to the top officials of the Finance Ministry to study the matter, he told reporters after visiting the proposed site for Bumiputera traders here.

Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad was reported as saying yesterday that smaller airports in Sarawak and Sabah were being targeted by drug smugglers for transporting drugs as these airports had no scanning facilities and faced a shortage of manpower.

KL International Airport (KLIA) Customs director Datuk Chik Omar Chik Lim was also reported as saying on Tuesday that Mulu Airport in Sarawak was suspected to be among the entry points for drug smugglers because it did not have a scanning machine.

Chik Omar said Customs officers seized a bag containing 5.3 kg of drugs worth RM1 million on Jan 29 as it was transiting here on the way from Lagos, Nigeria to Mulu.

On another matter, Ahmad said the Finance Ministry had allocated RM20 million to build a new three-storey business premises for Bumiputera traders in Miri.

The financial allocation would be channelled to the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation and it will be a new landmark for Miri city, he said.

He said construction would start on March 13 this year and was expected to be completed on March 12, 2017. Bernama