You Might Have To Pay RM35 'Anti-Terror' Fee The Next Time You Fly Out Of Malaysia
In order to protect the country from undesirable elements such as terrorists, etc., the government is expected to introduce the Advance Passenger Screening System (APSS)
The APSS is a new border management programme and is pursuant to Malaysia's Advance Passenger Information (API) management system.
Under a new International Civil Aviation Organisation Standard, programmes such as APSS will become mandatory in 2018. At present, some 65 countries worldwide have already introduced similar programmes.
However, the APSS is an expensive programme and the government may have to fork out close to RM8 billion over a period of 15 years to an outsourced private company
And while the costs for such systems linked to security is usually borne by the country's government, the Malaysian government has no such intention.
According to a report in theSundaily, the Malaysian government is planning to charge passengers flying out of Malaysia an additional fee of RM35 to recover its costs.
On the other hand, though, if the Malaysian government imposes the 'anti-terror' fee, it could end up losing up to RM1.5 billion annually from its gross domestic product
This, according to two aviation bodies, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), both of whom have expressed strong concern over Malaysia’s plan to introduce a charge for all international passengers arriving and departing Malaysia to cover the cost for the APSS.
The two Aviation bodies said that while they recognise the benefits programmes such as the APSS offers in terms of border security and control, funding for it is a State responsibility as it is linked to border security and intelligence collection.
Moreover, the vast majority of countries who have already introduced such programmes have not implemented passenger charges.
They also said that such a charge would have an adverse effect on Malaysia's competitiveness and aviation sector as the presence of a passenger charge added to other tourist taxes would make travel to Malaysia significantly more costly.
Still, the fact that the Malaysian government will pay a whopping RM8 billion over a period of 15 years to a private company to set up a new system doesn't make any sense
Because there are readily-available systems in the world that are already being used by other countries to check the status of passengers. For example, the system being used in Australia, which only costs about RM250 million, reported theSundaily.
While the system will enable checks on a passenger and identify if they are on the international terror watch-list, there is also the question of which party would collect the fee, as airport tax goes to Malaysia Airports Berhad and an RM1 levy is channelled to the Malaysian Aviation Commission.
What are your thoughts on Malaysia's plan to introduce the new system and charge passengers to recover the cost?