Saturday November 3, 2012
Biometrics to track visitors
By IWAN SHU-ASWAD SHUAIB
KUALA LUMPUR: The biometric system will allow the Immigration Department to track foreigners who overstay more effectively.
Many foreigners misuse their social visit passes and stay on in Malaysia to work illegally, including taking part in vice activities.
According to records, China and India nationals form the largest number of visitors to Malaysia.
As many as 1.25 million Chinese tourists and 693,056 Indian tou-rists came to Malaysia last year alone.
Immigration Department head Datuk Alias Ahmad said the tracking system would use the foreigners' biometric data, which is recorded when they enter the country.
“We can detect their location based on the biometric data in our system.
“For example, when they open a bank account they would need to provide their fingerprint,” he told mStar Online.
He said the tracking system would also detect foreigners who check into hotels using their passport.
“This is why it should be compulsory for all foreign workers to open a bank account to receive their salary, while tourists should validate their passport upon checking into a hotel,” he said as there will be a system linking it to the department to check for biometric data.
At the moment, the only way to detect foreigners who overstay is when they exit the country or during an enforcement raid.
Alias said the tracking system was a continuation of the Advanced Passenger Processing System (APPS), aimed at eradicating transnational crime such as human trafficking and drug smuggling.
“APPS does a background check on foreigners who enter Malaysia, including whether they have any criminal record,” ” he said.
Alias added that there was currently no system to track the movements of foreigners beyond biometric checks at the country's entry points.
However, he said that it was too early to say when it would be implemented as the system was still in the planning stage.
Alias said the three elements - APPS, biometric system and tracking system - would tighten national security as well as improve the department's efficiency.