theSun’s KLIA security test raises queries

04 Jul 2016 / 12:41 H.

PETALING JAYA: Should our airports raise their "A game", including extending security perimeters and setting up security booths at all entry points, in light of recent terror attacks across the globe?
The government had, in recent months, openly said the country would be on heightened security, especially at key entry points and tourist spots, following these attacks.
This includes the deadly bombing at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium on March 22 and in Istanbul on June 28.
Both attacks left more than 77 dead and hundreds injured.
To test security levels, theSun recently did a simple experiment, dressing up as a woman fully covered up, to infiltrate and check on security alertness at the KL International Airport (KLIA), one of the main entry points into the country.
The "woman", carrying a canvas bag, loitered around busy spots at the airport for two hours, both at the arrival and departure halls, while several times moving past security personnel on patrol, and from time to time fiddling inside her bag.
Despite her odd behaviour and movements, airport security did not even glance her way during the whole two-hour "infiltration".
Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) corporate communications (stakeholder relations) manager Mohd Naszrien Nasir had, recently, told theSun that their Aviation Security (Avsec) officers are "trained and equipped with profiling skills which enable them to identify suspicious acts".
He also assured that the airport does house security booths if there is a need to bring either male or female passengers for a private check, but stressed that they are not necessarily meant for women wearing the niqab or purda (a veil covering a woman's face).
The main question is, at what point does a person or his act deemed suspicious enough for security personnel to stop and start questioning? Does a man dressed up as a woman walking past the same policemen several times in the space of 10 minutes, while acting oddly, not considered suspicious?
Should airports instead have security booths at the entrance, rather than inside the airport or at the check-in gates, to, among other things, check women dressing up in niqab or purda and comparing them with their travel documents?
theSun stresses that it has nothing against women wearing the niqab or purda, but maintains that prevention is always better than cure.
If a "marhaen" man donning women's clothes and acting irregularly could bypass several security personnel unnoticed, surely much worse can happen if that person was a terrorist carrying explosives or weapons instead.
If anything, it was the passers-by at the airport who were more curious and suspicious of the woman, with several of them throwing suspicious looks when walking past her.
theSun did however notice, on a couple of occasions, police officers randomly checking travel documents of passengers loitering at the terminal entrances.
But the question remains, how safe exactly are our airports?

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