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Malaysia Airports Steps Up Measures Against Wildlife Trafficking

In relation to recent media reports of wildlife smuggled into other countries by passengers departing from Malaysia, Malaysia Airports wishes to clarify the process relating to checked-in passenger baggage.

As an airport operator, Malaysia Airports remains guided by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) International Standards and Recommended Practices, specifically Security Annex 17, Chapter 4, which states that an airport "shall establish measures to prevent weapons, explosives or any other dangerous devices, articles or substances, which may be used to commit an act of unlawful interference, the carriage or bearing of which is not authorized, from being introduced, by any means whatsoever, on board an aircraft engaged in civil aviation".

In compliance to this, all airports under Malaysia Airports utilise an approved automated baggage screening system. KL International Airport (KLIA) has five levels of screening that is calibrated to detect weapons, explosives, devices, articles and substances that pose a danger to the airport community, and passengers/crew on board aircraft.

Capturing and prosecuting traffickers of illegal/illicit drugs and wildlife under the jurisdiction of existing relevant laws, fall under the purview of other relevant agencies such as Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM), Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsula Malaysia (PERHILITAN), Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (MAQIS) and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

As a responsible airport operator, Malaysia Airports has proactively taken steps to address the issue of wildlife smuggling, through cooperation with airlines and all relevant agencies in their respective enforcement activities. Among the initiatives include initiating continuous engagements with the agencies that have resulted in collaborative operations of enhancing security checks and baggage screening for targeted flights.

Malaysia Airports is also currently working with customs intelligence of other international airports to gain insights into recent smuggling trends and challenges in combating trafficking. Moving forward, Malaysia Airports will also be engaging with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), to further step up monitoring mechanisms and allow for more vigilant checks to be conducted based on data-driven assessments of high-risk flights.  

In addition, Malaysia Airports will continue to raise awareness amongst passengers that trafficking is a crime through its Public Service Announcement campaigns at its network of airports. It should be noted that Malaysia is part of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and Airports Council International - of which Malaysia Airports is a member - is also part of the United for Wildlife Task Force Declaration. Malaysia Airports wishes to remind all passengers to strictly adhere to the laws and regulations of both the countries of origin and destination and to not carry any prohibited or unlawful items in their carry-on and checked baggage.

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