ASEAN lane to be set up at KLIA next year

KUALA LUMPUR - An ASEAN lane will be set up at the KL International Airport (KLIA) starting Jan 1 next year when Malaysia officially takes the chairmanship of the regional body.

Director-general of the ASEAN-Malaysia National Secretariat at Wisma Putra Datuk Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob said the ASEAN lane would facilitate the entry of visitors from member countries in conjunction with Malaysia's chairmanship of the regional body.

With the facility, visitors from ASEAN countries can queue for immigration clearance at a dedicated lane upon arriving at KLIA.

"The facility will be similar to the European Union (EU) lanes at European airports for citizens of EU member countries."

"This move is part of Malaysia's effort to create a greater sense of belonging among members of ASEAN and raise awareness about ASEAN," Shahrul said.

He said Wisma Putra would discuss with related agencies to try and set up ASEAN lanes in other airports in Malaysia within the first quarter of next year.

Shahrul said the ASEAN lane would be under the Immigration Department and was among measures Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wanted to see when Malaysia assumes the ASEAN chair.

All related agencies and ministries in Malaysia including Wisma Putra had also been instructed to conduct outreach programmes.

"We have a good product, which is ASEAN, but we need to do more to tell people about it and raise the feeling of belonging."

Wisma Putra, said Shahrul, had so far conducted outreach programmes targeting youths and students and also set up a booth to promote ASEAN awareness at the Putra World Trade centre here, where the Umno general assembly is being held.