KUALA LUMPUR: Passengers flying out of Malaysia will have to pay a fee of RM35 (S$11) after the government introduces a new passenger screening system, reported local news outlet The Sun on Thursday (Nov 30).
Citing a source, The Sun reported that the government would have to pay almost RM8 billion over 15 years to an outsourced private company which would set up an Advance Passenger Screening System (APSS).
The APSS would provide background information on an individual boarding a plane before they enter Malaysia, so that authorities can conduct advanced screening. The system is also aimed at protecting the country from undesirable elements such as terrorists.
According to the source, the plan is for "passengers (to) bear the cost" which "makes no real sense as there are readily-available systems in the world, like the system being used in Australia, which only costs about A$80 million (RM250 million)."
Usually, costs for such systems linked to security are usually borne by the government, but some may charge a nominal fee of US$1, added the source.
"But this is not the case here, as airline passengers are being forced to pay for the security system."
This also brings up the issue of the RM35 fee collection, as currently, airport tax goes to Malaysia Airports Berhad while a RM1 levy is collected by the Malaysian Aviation Commission, reported The Sun.
Last July, Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamad said the APSS would be implemented after evaluating several factors, including the cost of implementation, reported The New Straits Times.