Malaysian Ministry of Interior: immigration system upgrade inevitable

In a recent announcement, the Malaysian home ministry stated that the operating systems used by the Immigration Department of Malaysia need an upgrade. Stating the immediate need for implementing increased security measures, the ministry concluded that changes will incur massive costs as well as disruption to normal operations at the immigration office. Mr. Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, Deputy Home Minister, stated that a special team would be set up to evaluate and review the existing systems that are in operation.

The Malaysian Immigration System – myIMMs – worth RM29.9 million, only records information about tourists’ arrival and departure but is not equipped to detect if the passport holder is genuine. In his statement, Nur Jazlan further added that this inherent weakness in the system has been exploited by human-traffickers in the past. Citing a case where a tip-off led to the arrest of 10 people with fake passports, Mr. Nur Jazlan stated that the ministry linked the case to syndicates from Sri Lanka and other countries.

In addition to the 10 arrests, two low-ranking officers with the immigration department have also been arrested for facilitating this case. The home ministry stated that the special team will be headed by the Secretary General for the Home Ministry, Mr. Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim. The current system doesn’t allow for any modifications (e.g. facial recognition) that could enhance the security at the immigration office.

Mr. Jazlan also addressed public’s concerns about the congestion at the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Second Link by stating that there are plans to increase the number of booths at the second link; however, he reiterated that the public should understand that focus will be on safety over speed.

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