PUTRAJAYA: Officers fluent in several languages will be stationed at KL International Airport (KLIA) in case of language and communication problems between travellers and the authorities, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
The Home Minister said the officers, who can communicate in Mandarin, Tamil, English and Arabic, would be assigned soon.
“This is part of the improvements that we have planned for (better service) and (to overcome) communication issues,” he told a press conference here on Wednesday (July 5).
Saifuddin said the recent tourist incident at KLIA was discussed at today’s Cabinet meeting, adding that the matter is viewed seriously.
He added that Cabinet also agreed that only senior officers of Grade 41 and higher would have the authority to issue a “Not To Land” (NTL) order to travellers.
Currently, the matter could be decided by officers holding Grade KP29 and up.
He said between January and June, a total of 592,490 tourists from China had entered Malaysia.
Of that number, 423 were issued NTL orders.
“Despite the recent incident, the Cabinet acknowledged the commitment, cooperation and good discipline among the majority of Immigration officers at the airport.
“If not for their commitment, there would have been problems managing the large number of arrivals,” he pointed out.
Saifuddin said the ministry would leave it to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the incident and would extend its full cooperation.
A news portal had reported that a Cabinet minister had barged into the arrival hall at KLIA on June 29 and created a commotion in an attempt to “free” a Chinese national who was denied entry into Malaysia.
Clarifying the matter, Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said he had to personally step in to help an employee of a China-based media company after she was allegedly held up by Immigration officers at KLIA on arrival from Shenzen.
The woman had alleged that although her travel documents were in order, she was denied entry.
She claimed that she was asked to pay several thousand ringgit if she wanted to be allowed in.
The woman had arrived in Malaysia with her superior, a senior official of a Chinese government-owned TV station.
The MACC had recorded statements from Tiong, the woman and a witness, as well as four Immigration officers stationed at KLIA over the incident.
– The Star