PUTRAJAYA: Enforcement and border controls will be further enhanced with the Malaysian Border Security Agency (AKSEM) Act 2017 which comes into force today.
Malaysian Border Security Agency director-general Datuk Mohamad Ismail said the Act's implementation is a long-awaited one.
"With this Act in place, AKSEM will have more autonomy and control over the enforcement work carried out at the country's borders," he told the New Straits Times.
Mohamad said he will be mandated to fully coordinate, observe and submit the findings to the High-Level Committee Meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the Home Minister, and committee meeting by the ministry's secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim for suggestions and actions.
"Now I will be able to coordinate the agencies and departments which come under AKSEM, such as the police, Immigration Department and Customs Department, apart from National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) National Kenaf and Tobacco Board (LKTN) under one enforcement and carry out activities accordingly.
"There are certain areas we will have to revisit and further strengthen," he added.
As the first step after implementation of the Act, he said he will invite all the agencies and department heads and officers for a meeting in the days to come, to identify existing problems and finds ways together to solve them.
"This is was his (Zahid's) vision, to see all agencies come under one authority to carry out efficient and effective enforcement," he added.
In a statement last week, the Home Ministry said the AKSEM Act will come into force today, in accordance with subsection 1(2) of the AKSEM Act 2017 (Act 799).
It said the act was formulated to streamline control and action against illegal activities at the country's land borders.
The act provides for the setting up of a special agency (AKSEM) which is responsible for curbing smuggling and other illegal activities along the country's land borders.
The Act will expand AKSEM's functions in controlling the land borders, including in Sabah and Sarawak.
In previous reports, Zahid had said that AKSEM would enforce security control along the Malaysia-Thailand border under a special legislation that would be tabled in Parliament.
He also said the new Act would empower AKSEM in enforcing the law pertaining to border security and to operate in a comprehensive and more effective manner.