MAS warned following immigration hiccup

16 Dec 2015 / 18:56 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) was issued a warning for failing to ensure that its passengers go through the necessary immigration checks upon entering the country.
This came following a hiccup by the company on Dec 12 which saw passengers on board flight MH741 from Yangon, Myanmar to Kuala Lumpur entering the country without being checked by Malaysian immigration authorities.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed explained that the flight, carrying 135 passengers including international passport holders, had to be diverted to Langkawi due to bad weather in KLIA, with many of them then transferred to another flight to reach Kuala Lumpur.
"Upon landing in Langkawi, 32 passengers, including five cabin crews, were checked by the immigration there, while the remaining were transferred to another flight without being checked, and arrived in KLIA as domestic passengers. It should not have happened.
"I am warning all airlines carrying international passengers to adhere to our country's laws," he told a press conference after opening the Asean and Commit Workshop: Recognising Human Trafficking Victims and Related Exploitation Types organised by the Aisa Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP), here today.
He said the responsibility to ensure that international passengers go through immigration checks lies with the airlines themselves, and that failing to do so would go against the Immigration Act 1959/1963.
"Airlines bring the passengers here, so it is their responsibility that they are checked by the immigration.
"Because of security reasons, all airlines, especially those carrying international passengers, must ensure that it doesn't happen," he said.
Nur Jazlan acknowledged that bad weather would be prevalent in the coming days due to forecast of heavy rain, but warned that incidences like this should not be repeated.
He added that he had met Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) officials on Monday to discuss issues of penetration of international passengers in KLIA and KLIA2.
"I urge MAHB to tighten further security operations in the airports. Although the figure of penetration cases is small, it could still be an opportunity for anyone with bad intentions to enter the country.
"These days, acts of terrorism can come in small numbers, just like the one in Paris. So we want to shut them down from entering through our international airports," he added.
Meanwhile, MAS media relations and strategic communications manager Khairunnisak Dzun Nurin later told theSun that the transfer of passengers to another domestic flight from Langkawi to KLIA was an effort to get the passengers to their intended destination as quickly and safely as possible.
She said procedures were in place to ensure that the domestic flight arrived through the international gate but a miscommunication had led to international passengers arriving at the domestic gate.
"However, these passengers were assisted by Malaysia Airports' security personnel who, together with MAS's ground staff, ensured that all the international passengers' passports were processed at the immigration checkpoint," she explained.

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