DPM Teo: It was serious error of judgment

On Jan 17, Malaysian teacher Nurul Ruhana Ishak (right), 28, managed to drive past immigration at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

The Kedah state native was arrested only three days later, when she entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs compound without authorisation.

On Monday in Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean revealed details on the border breach.


DPM Teo: (The) lapses can fall into two categories. The first is when there is some negligence on the part of one or more ground officers in carrying out their tasks.

The second, and more serious, situation is when there has been a serious error of judgment and this occurred in the current case.


DPM Teo: They made a mistake... They are not new officers and looking back on their records, they have been good officers.


DPM Teo: The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and police ground commanders made a serious error of judgment in deciding to treat this intrusion as a less serious immigration offence instead of a serious breach of border security as required in the protocol.

This was a major reason for the subsequent inadequate response which resulted in the vehicle and driver not being detected and arrested much earlier. Both ground commanders have been redeployed to non-operational posts pending disciplinary action.

Their supervising officers overseeing operations should also have realised this and acted to rectify the situation.

They will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary action, along with other officers involved in the incident.


DPM Teo: I do not underestimate the challenges faced by officers at the Woodlands Checkpoint. It is one of the busiest land checkpoints in the world, with more than 300,000 people and 130,000 vehicles passing though every day.

We have deployed more resources to Woodlands Checkpoint over the years. For example, we have increased the manpower in Woodlands Checkpoint by 42 per cent in 2009 as a result of a study conducted on workload.

We have added another 11 per cent of manpower over the last five years, bringing the total increase to 58 per cent between 2008 and now.

During the same period, the total increase in travellers and vehicles is 26 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.


DPM Teo: In the past three years, there have been 26 cases of immigration breaches and 25 cases were stopped immediately.


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