WASHINGTON DC: Malaysia plans to adopt an early security screening system on foreign visitors with aim at blocking the entry of unwanted individuals such as terrorists, criminals and others.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pix) said the use of the Automated Targeting System-Global (ATS-G) was offered to Malaysia by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“Through this method, foreign visitors who wish to come to Malaysia can be screened in advance so that if they are parts of unwanted elements, we will be able to detect them sooner.
“This is to ensure that they do not bring any harm to our country,” Muhyiddin told Bernama after visiting several US security institutions here.
Muhyiddin is currently on a working visit to Washington DC, with the aim at strengthening security cooperation between Malaysia and the United States. He will also be visiting New York next.
Muhyiddin said through the system, Malaysia would be able to share the contents of the United States’ database with the aim of helping the country to manage matters related to visitors’ arrivals.
He said the CBP that he visited thus far had expressed it willingness to send officers for further discussions with the Home Ministry pertaining to the assistance that could be given to Malaysia.
“They offer the ATS-G for free. If we use another system we will have to pay so it will save on the cost of managing our country’s entry points,” Muhyiddin explained.
The United States, Muhyiddin said, has ample data, not only from within the country alone but also from other countries that it has existing cooperation.
“(The system) has the advantages that I think can help ensure that Malaysia’s entry points are secured and no unwanted individual can penetrate our country,” Muhyiddin said.
He said this was part of the efforts to set up a new immigration system for the country, to replace the existing ones that had been used for a long time.
In addition, he said Malaysia was also keen to learn more on the United States’ experiences in establishing a single border agency to control the country’s entry points.
He said apart from the United States, other countries such as Singapore and Australia had also established similar agency.
“Information on this matter is needed to help with the steps to be taken following the decision of the cabinet committee meeting held a few months ago,” he said, referring to the July 3 meeting that agreed on the proposal of a single body to look after the country’s borders and entry points including the ports.
Muhyiddin also met with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Christopher Wray with discussions on efforts to increase cooperation in training and capacity building.
“In addition, as he (Wray) is closely associated with the United States Department of Justice, we also ask for the cooperation in particular on 1MDB-related issues,” he said. — Bernama