Petaling Jaya - Security at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) transit area will be overhauled to curb the problem of stranded passengers overstaying in the passageway.
MAHB senior general manager of special operations Datuk Azmi Murad said he would be calling a meeting involving immigration, airlines and related agencies this week to draw up measures and plug loopholes to combat the problem of passengers making the transit area their home.
He said they viewed the 50-odd days stayed by Palestine national Ahmed Kanan, 22, and seven other foreigners seriously because the facility could be abused.
"Currently, there is no time limit for transiting passengers at the transfer point. In fact, they can stay as long as they want. This is the same in other airports in the world.
"KLIA transit comes under our charge and as long as connecting passengers do not commit any crime or breach security, they will not be disturbed.
"We do not have the powers to detain passengers and if they cause any trouble, we will call in the police and relevant enforcement agencies.
"Transiting passengers have been screened at the point of departure and they are not a security risk," he said, adding that there was no chance for them to get into the operations area or onto the tarmac.
He said the MAHB security task force had now stepped up checks on waiting passengers and those sleeping at the terminal every night.
Azmi said details of dubious travellers were recorded and monitored to ensure they left for their final destination within the stipulated period.
He said they were also aware of all the secluded areas in the terminal and it was not possible for anyone to hide.
"We have a security force of over 1,800 personnel working 24/7 and have CCTV cameras to monitor the entire terminal.
"There are cases of passengers staying up to seven days on transit because their connecting flights are once a week," he said.
Azmi said the police did not patrol the transit zone and they would be called in only if a crime had occurred.
He took to task certain irresponsible airlines that did not inform MAHB and the immigration department on deported passengers because it was their (airlines) responsibility.
He said airlines offloading passengers with improper travel documents should take responsibility for such individuals.
"We, on our end, will facilitate with the airlines and agencies to ease the burden of stranded passengers by contacting the respective embassies and parties concerned," he said.
On the status of stranded Syrian Khaled Ali and his family, Azmi said they were housed at the transit hotel and also provided meals by a well-wisher.
He also said they were discussing with an Egyptian airline to sort out the problem of Palestinian Mohammed Abulabbad, who has been waiting in the transit area to get a visa to fly to Egypt since July 1.