Martin Carvalho and Embun Majid, The Star (Kuala Lumpur), June 2, 2011
The biometric system has been implemented at all immigration entry points to better monitor foreigners coming into the country.
The National Foreigners Enforcement and Registration System was introduced yesterday without any major hiccups.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusof said foreigners entering the country would now have their thumbprints taken electronically.
“The process went on smoothly and the department has not received any complaints so far.
“However, the system is new and there are bound to be minor glitches,” he told The Star.
He added that the thumbprinting process would be improved to avoid inconveniencing visitors.
“Our officers have to take the thumbprints but ensure privacy and that there is no discrimination during the process,” he said.
He said the system, which had already been introduced in the United States, Britain, Canada, Italy and Brazil, was necessary to protect the security and sovereignty of the country.
Under the system, foreigners will have their thumbprints taken and processed within a short time upon their arrival.
The system will monitor them and a warning slip will be issued should they overstay.
This will allow immigration authorities to take the necessary action.
In Alor Setar, Kedah Immigration deputy director Hasreena Hashim said the department conducted a trial run of the system several weeks ago to identify problems in its implementation.
The trial run was conducted after the system was installed at all the entry points in the state.
In Penang, state Immigration director Abdul Qadir Siddiq Ahmad said the system had been in force on a trial basis since May 13.