KUALA LUMPUR - Five airports will soon have the capability to verify, in less than a second, if a passport has been stolen or reported lost.
Deputy director-general of Immigration Sakib Kusmi told the New Straits Times that Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Kuching, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and newly opened lowcost terminal klia2 would be linked to Interpol's I-Checkit system some time next month or in July.
"We are in the process of integrating our system, called the MyImms system, with Malaysian Interpol's database in Bukit Aman, which will allow for speedy verification.
"The system that we are using now can support the I-Checkit system. At the moment, we are integrating our system with that of Interpol. "We are in the early stages of moving towards the Advanced Passenger Screening System (APSS)."
APSS, Sakib said, would enable the authorities to speedily check the background of foreigners entering the country. "The system is among several new security protocols being put in place at the country's entry points."
Currently, airport authorities manually cross-check against Interpol's Stolen and Lost Travel Document (SLTD) database, which is a time-consuming process.
The enhanced security protocols were announced by the government in the wake of lapses in the system, which had allowed two people to travel on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 using passports belonging to an Italian and Austrian.
It was reported that the two had bought tickets from China Southern Airlines. The tickets were for flights starting here to to Beijing, then onwards to Amsterdam.
It was reported that the ticket bought under the Italian passport was for a flight that continued to Copenhagen, while the ticket bought under the Austrian passport was for a flight ending in Frankfurt.
The passport holders, Italian Luigi Maraldi, 37, and Austrian Christian Kozel, 30, had had their passports stolen in Thailand. Yesterday, Interpol secretary-general Ronald K. Noble said governments and airlines must adopt its I-Checkit system to ensure terrorists and criminals did not penetrate borders or board planes.
Noble said the system Interpol's system would save airlines the hassle and extra costs in having to finance the return flights of passengers who had been denied entry at Immigration checkpoints for having suspect passports, in addition to fines that might be imposed on the airlines.
This, he said, was in addition to fines that might be imposed on airlines.
He said the system would allow authorities and airlines to determine, in less than a second, if a passport had been invalidated by the issuing country after having been reported stolen or lost.
"I-Checkit was created to fill the glaring global security gap presented by stolen and lost passports. It gives airlines the opportunity to screen passports to see if they are stolen and, thus, invalid.
"The system is an efficient way to discharge international obligations and protect passengers in an automated and cost- effective manner," he said in a statement yesterday.
Noble said millions of passengers boarded international flights without having their passports screened against the SLTD database.
This, he said, allowed criminals to easily use invalid passports to cross borders and and continue their journey using the documents to board planes, without worrying of any concern that they would getting be caught.
"This is a risk too great for the world's governments and airlines to allow to go unaddressed."