Kudos to the Government for canceling a plan to charge Umrah pilgrims from Malaysia RM90 for nothing [Zahid: Cabinet not told Imams would be outsourced).
Imams, it turns out, is just someone’s ploy make a lot of money in the name of religion. Or was it tourism?
Never mind that, there’s an equally mind-boggling scheme that’s about to be shoved down our throats. It’s called Advanced Passenger Screening System.
APPs is a scheme to charge inbound passengers a “token” sum, this time in the name of homeland security. My sources say the Cabinet approved this project recently and a company awarded the concession, which is for a period of 15 years.
Was there a tender? I’m not sure but what I know is that the project implementation cost is in the region of RM8 billion. Who’s going to pay for this? Answer: Malaysia’s inbound travellers. Which means that with APPs, each person flying to Malaysia will have an additional US$5 or RM21* only (to be added on to their fares).
Is that fair? Mavcom, the body that regulates economic and commercial matters related to the country’s civil aviation, should be able to tell us.
But if you ask me, this smells Imamsy.
We have one of the best homeland security records in the region already. There’s no need for something like this, honestly.
* Small compared with Imams’ proposed charges but Malaysia eyes 94 million inboundpassengers by the end of 2017, so you do the math …