KOTA KINABALU - Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has ordered the immigration department to station its officers at airports in Sabah to conduct random checks of identity cards (ICs) to prevent militants from flying to Peninsular Malaysia using fake identities, Bernama said.
Datuk Seri Zahid, who is also Home Minister, was replying to a journalist's question on Monday (Feb 19) on the possibility of members of terrorist group ISIS from using Sabah to obtain fake identity cards and using these to fly to West Malaysia, according to the Malaysian news agency.
There are concerns that militants linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and from the Abu Sayyaf group have been coming into Sabah from the southern Philippines' Mindanao and surrounding islands, before getting fake ICs in Sabah.
They would then use these cards to book flights to fly to Peninsular Malaysia, where they would find work or hide.
Malaysians flying from Sabah or Sarawak do not need to show their passports to take flights to Peninsular Malaysia.
They only need to show their Malaysian ICs at the boarding gates along with their boarding passes.
Malaysian police in September last year caught seven Filipinos working as security guards in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor who were members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group.
Malaysia's police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun had said then: "They sneaked into Malaysia via Sandakan, Sabah, in September 2015, before leaving for KL using forged travel documents.
"All of them had been working as security guards at private companies in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur."
Tan Sri Fuzi said one of the suspects, a 22-year old man, had collaborated with ISIS-linked militants in southern Philippines.
Mr Zahid said on Monday that by checking the ICs of those leaving Sabah, the authorities would be able to detect earlier whether the cards they have were authentic.