MALACCA - Malaysia's current immigration database system is not capable of handling Interpol's massive global database of 40.2 million lost passports, said Immigration Department deputy director-general (control) Datuk Sakib Kusmi.
Concurring with Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's statement in Parliament, he said the department did not have the capability and capacity to keep the database.
"Interpol keeps a database of 40.2 million lost passports, a huge load of information. It is too overwhelming for our system to cope, in directly accessing or subscribing to it," he told reporters after closing the department's first series of special tactical group training graduation at the National Sports Council's Kem Saujana in Asahan, Jasin, yesterday.
Sakib said only a few countries in the world were capable of directly subscribing to Interpol's database for real-time checking.
"Our system is not capable for the time being but we will see upgrades in the near future to enable more databases to be stored and linked," he added.
Sakib said the department had been closely monitoring those who entered the country with the police force, which is closely connected to Interpol receiving frequent updates on international crime suspects or lost passports.
He said Malaysia had understanding with countries such as Indonesia and Singapore to detect passport fraud online and in real-time.
On the two Iranians who had managed to board Flight MH370 using stolen Austrian and Italian passports, he said officers usually compared the passport pictures with the holders' faces and checked if the document had been tampered with.
"No doubts will be raised if everything is okay," he said.
On Friday, Interpol said Malaysia's decision to not consult the database before allowing travellers to enter the country or board planes could not be defended by falsely blaming technology or the international organisation.