Agencies step up anti-smuggling ops

BUKIT KAYU HITAM - Personnel from various agencies are stepping up operations at the Malaysia-Thai border here to curb gun and drug-smuggling activities, said Internal Security and Public Order Department Director Comm Datuk Seri Salleh Mat Rasid.

He said the operations, codenamed Ops Wawasan, would involve the General Operations Force, CID and the Narcotics Department.

He added that they would also take over anti-smuggling patrol duties that were conducted by the army at the border.

Comm Salleh said the police would also work closely with other agencies that had border enforcement units, such as the Customs and Immigration departments and the Anti-Smuggling Unit.

"We know that smuggling activities are planned around our patrols so we need to be more alert," he told reporters at a joint press conference with Army Field Command chief Lt-Jen Datuk Seri Zulkiple Kassim after attending a ceremony to hand over Ops Wawasan patrol duties for Kedah and Perlis from the army to the police here yesterday.

Comm Salleh hoped that the Government would consider putting up closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras along the 96km-long Malaysia-Thailand border, from Bukit Tangga here to Wang Kelian in Padang Besar, as this would free up more police personnel for patrol duties.

"Although the police have taken over Ops Wawasan patrol duties, we will still be working closely with the army to curb criminal activities along the border," he said.

Jen Zulkiple said the army was still handling Ops Wawasan duties in Kelantan as there was no discussion yet on when they would be handing the duties over to the police.

He added that the army arrested 39 illegal immigrants and foiled seven smuggling attempts involving petrol, rice and livestock along the Malaysian-Thai border in November last year just before the police took over patrol duties.