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Clamping down on cross-border smuggling

  • With new evidence collected by MACC and the positive response from the IGP, it shows that the issue of cross-border smuggling and corruption has finally received serious attention from the authorities.

Sin Chew Daily

MACC recently unveiled an 11-minute video on the rampant smuggling activities on the Malaysian-Thai border between 2017 and May this year. It was suspected that the smugglers were being shielded by both enforcement officials at Padang Besar and Thai border post personnel, so that smuggling has become an almost routine activity there.

The video shows that smuggling activities were carried out right before the eyes of enforcement personnel who ignored the criminal act or even waved at the smugglers while playing games on their cellphones inside the security room.

The video also shows that the smugglers were handing something to the people inside the security room, raising MACC's doubts that bribery was involved.

MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said in the press conference that the video was only the tip of the iceberg. Over the past two years, the authorities have collected thousands of relevant video totalling several hundred hours in length. These videos have been analysed and handed over to the police or further action. After the police have completed the verification works, MACC will take appropriate actions against the enforcement personnel found guilty of accepting bribes.

Responding to the revelation, IGP Abdul Hamid Bador said the following day that he would not condone such wrongful acts of his subordinates, saying that actions had been taken against some of the people inside the video.

The IGP also said Bukit Aman had since 2014 arrested some ten police officers and 33 police cops who had been subsequently punished. Some of the police cops were not charged in the court due to lack of evidence.

Border smuggling is an old issue that has been in existence for decades. People at four major border towns of Padang Besar, Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kroh and Rantau Panjang believe that enforcement personnel on both sides of the border are involved in condoning smuggling of prohibited items, government-subsidised food items such as cooking oil, white sugar, flour and petrol, as well as rice and glutinous rice from Thailand, among others.

The amount of government-subsidised food items smuggled across the border to Thailand over the decades is inestimable, allowing smugglers from both sides to rake in huge profits, not to mention firearms, narcotics and illegal migrants smuggled into the country that have created massive social problems in our society.

Unfortunately, despite the “open secret”, the authorities have not taken any stern actions against smuggling activities on the Malaysian-Thai border all these years. Even after the revelation of the mass burial of refugees killed by human smugglers, security has not been stepped up despite pledges made by the Malaysian and Thai authorities to tighten security measures to clamp down on human and goods smuggling.

With new evidence collected by MACC and the positive response from the IGP, it shows that the issue of cross-border smuggling and corruption has finally received serious attention from the authorities.

MACC will work with the police to combat corruption and smuggling activities in a bid to minimise drain of subsidised items and trafficking of prohibited items into the country that will exacerbate the crime problem.

 

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