KL may restrict entry to airport terminals to departing passengers

ULAANBAATAR • Malaysia is considering a proposal to allow only air passengers to enter its terminals at all its airports, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, as the country reacts to attack threats by terrorist group ISIS.

Datuk Seri Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the Cabinet, at its weekly meeting last Wednesday, proposed that only passengers be allowed at the check-in counters, Bernama news agency reported yesterday from the Mongolian capital where ministers were gathered for the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting summit.

Family members and friends who are sending off these passengers, Mr Zahid said, should only be allowed to gather outside the terminals or at specific places that would be decided later.

"The Cabinet has instructed Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to work out this proposal with MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad). Hopefully, it can be implemented soon," Mr Zahid told Malaysian reporters, as quoted by Bernama.

MAHB manages all 39 airports in Malaysia, including the five international airports.

DPM Zahid said Mr Liow was also asked to look into ensuring that vehicles that are dropping off passengers, or waiting to pick up returning passengers, would not park near terminals.

"Perhaps these vehicles should only be allowed to be at the carparks," he said.

Malaysia is on high alert after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatened to carry out indiscriminate attacks in the country. ISIS sympathisers attacked a pub in Selangor three weeks ago, police have said.

Mr Zahid said yesterday that he has instructed security to be tightened at all Malaysian airports, including raising the number of police and military personnel deployed. The government is also planning to buy more sophisticated security devices like high-definition CCTVs and facial-recognition equipment, Bernama said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'KL may restrict entry to airport terminals to departing passengers'. Print Edition | Subscribe