Malaysian authorities are to implement a new Advanced Passenger Screening System (APSS) in June, part of increased passenger screening at the country’s borders.
Malaysia’s Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said, “We are revisiting our standard operating procedure on security, especially at Kuala Lumpur International [Airport].”
APSS, which has been on trial for several months at the border with Singapore, links passport data with various databases holding previous records on criminal activity or blacklisted behavior from across the region. According to the minister, the system will give much broader information on potential problems with passenger IDs, but as yet will not link directly into the Interpol database of stolen or missing passports.
The move to implement APSS follows concerns raised from the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 event. Two of the passengers on board that aircraft were found to be using stolen passports. The travelers were from Iran and were using Italian passports to get to Europe, where it believed they wanted to seek asylum. Investigations have so far found any evidence linking the travelers to the disappearance of MH370.
Malaysia’s immigration department said that although the APSS cannot tap directly into the Interpol passport database, a link will be established.
“Interpol’s database has 40.2 million lost passports. This huge load is too overwhelming for our current system to cope with, but we will see upgrades in the near future to enable more databases to be stored and linked,” a spokesperson said.