Sarawak customs department beefs up anti-smuggling surveillance with cargo scanners, sniffer dogs

Fatimah (centre) officiating at the handover of the cargo scanner in Miri today (June 5, 2023).

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By Brad Rantayy

MIRI, June 5: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department in Sarawak is strengthening airport surveillance to detect drug smuggling activities and other contraband.

On July 1, 2021, the Sarawak government approved grants totalling RM3.012 million to provide the Customs Department Sarawak with sophisticated equipment to combat smuggling activities.

This equipment included four cargo scanners, three trained dogs (Labrador breed), two SUV hatchback vehicles, and a doghouse (K9).

In November 2022, the four cargo scanners were installed and fully operational in airports in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

“Via the integrated grants, Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Abang Johari has approved the financial grants to equip Customs Sarawak with equipment that can be used to combat smuggling activities,” said Sarawak Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah today in Miri after handing over the equipment.

Receiving on behalf of the Royal Malaysian Customs was its Sarawak director, Dr Ahmad Taufik Sulaiman.

Fatimah emphasied that the grants approved by the Sarawak government to procure this equipment reflects its long-term commitment to combating drug smuggling activities in Sarawak.

“Between the year 2018 until April 2023, drugs worth RM74.01 million were seized by the police and Customs Sarawak with dealers’ property worth RM21.84 million confisticated,” Fatimah pointed out.

During that period, a total of 3,651 drug dealers were arrested.

“51,842 arrests were related to various drug related offences and of that number, 71.7 per cent (37,190 arrests) involved drug abuse and addiction,” she added.

Also present were Deputy Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development I (Women and Childhood Development) Datuk Rosey Yunus and Deputy Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Development II (Community Wellbeing Development) Mohamad Razi Sitam.