Muhyiddin: Home Ministry will act against officers found in cahoots with smugglers

Ben Tan
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the authorities take a serious view of the MACC’s claims. — Picture by Ben Tan

PONTIAN, Oct 18 — The Home Ministry will not hesitate to take action against law enforcement personnel found to have been facilitating smugglers along the Malaysia-Thai border in Perlis, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The home minister said the authorities take a serious view of claims made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that it has evidence of corruption along the northern border in Perlis involving local law enforcement agencies.

“I thank the MACC and [MACC chief] Latheefa Koya for bringing up the matter.

“Based on the information, the police will investigate [the claims] where action under the law will be taken against those who are found to have been involved in such activities,” said Muhyiddin, after a working visit to the Pontian district police headquarters here.

He said the police are empowered to take action as the issue involving enforcement agency personnel is a major problem.

Muhyiddin was commenting on the MACC’s revelation today, where it made public condensed surveillance video footage dating from three years to the present showing smuggling activities involving law enforcement personnel.

Muhyiddin said the issue of smuggling via land or sea in Malaysia is not a new occurrence, as the country’s borders are porous.

“This cannot be avoided, but what is important is to empower the various institutions [guarding the country’s borders] to be more effective,” he said.

On the possibility of establishing a task force to look into the MACC’s claims, Muhyiddin said it is not necessary.

He said it was the task of the Home Ministry and also the police to look into such matters.

“We will need to compile the facts and data provided by the MACC,” he said.

The Malaysian Border Security Agency is under the Home Ministry and consists of five enforcement agencies: the police, Immigration Department, Customs Department, National Anti-Drugs Agency, and the Kenaf and Tobacco Board.

Earlier today, the MACC compiled the captured smuggling activities into an 11-minute highlight reel that it played at a press conference.

The footage, from 2017 until May 2019, revealed how smugglers wait along the border fence along Padang Besar in Perlis and periodically carry gunny sacks allegedly containing items such as subsidised flour, cooking oil, fertiliser, diesel and petrol out of Malaysia.

MACC chief Latheefa Koya was reported as saying there was substantial evidence of collusion by the authorities, which her commission has submitted to the Royal Malaysia Police for its action.

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