Minister says stricter airport VIP rules now as 1MDB funds found smuggled out

Ida Nadirah Ibrahim

Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks during a press conference at the Mavcom headquarters in Kuala Lumpur September 4, 2018. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Security screening for very important persons (VIPs) will be enhanced following the discovery that 1MDB money may have been moved through KLIA, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

Loke said this was learned following the arrest of former Malaysian External Investigation Organisation (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid last week.

“We are looking at this very seriously in terms of airport security, I have asked MAHB to review to SOP (standard operating procedures) of VIP lanes,” he said, referring to the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.

“During the previous government, those using the VIP lanes and VIP lounge did not have to go through security I have asked to tighten up and have it to be more regulated,” he told a press conference at the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) headquarters, here, today.

Loke said that during the previous Barisan Nasional administration, officers from the ministries were also allowed to use the VIP lanes, which allowed them to escape the usual security scanners.

“We want it to be more regulated and have only selected people to use the VIP lanes.

“Before this, security checks on hand luggage of those passing through the VIP lanes was not strict but after this we will tighten this,” he said.

“We know of this after the exposure of the case where millions of foreign currencies were brought in through the airport. So this is something we are looking at.”

The New Sunday Times reported two days ago that over RM20 billions of the 1MDB funds accounted funds is being held by individuals around the world.

The fund was also linked to a sum of US$12 million (RM49.4 million) traced to the MEIO office, where it is believed about RM1 million of the money in US currency was brought in through KLIA in late April.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had said that it planned to question some MEIO officers abroad to help with the probe.

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