PUTRAJAYA: Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has officially appointed Datuk Seri Hazani Ghazali as the first director-general of the newly formed Malaysia Checkpoints and Border Agency (MCBA), effective today.

Hazani, presently serving as the director of the Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department, assumes the role with immediate effect.

During a special press conference today, Saifuddin characterised Hazani as an individual with extensive experience and a notable legacy in establishing the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) in Lahad Datu, a pivotal initiative responsible for security measures in East Sabah.

“His appointment is based on his qualifications and extensive 37 years of experience in the field of national security and order as well as law enforcement and control.

“We need an individual who has commanding skills. His main task now is to speed up the drafting of a bill to embody MCBA as an entity,“ he said.

Saifuddin said the MCBA Bill is expected to be tabled at the March Parliament session.

MCBA is the new government border agency responsible for providing integrated and comprehensive border control and inspection services at all the country’s checkpoints including ports.

The establishment of the MCBA is a national priority aimed at enhancing three main areas.

These include improving service efficiency at the country’s entry points, reducing revenue loss, and enhancing integrity in law enforcement during inspections of people, goods, vehicles, animals, and plants.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the formation of a single national border agency as part of an initiative to strengthen national defense and security preparedness, during Budget 2024.

In previous media reports, Saifuddin had mentioned that the initiative, planned since 2018, aims to bring together over 20 enforcement agencies across 141 entry points.

This includes the Malaysian Immigration Department, the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department, and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department. -Bernama

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