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Malaysia prioritising visitors’ safety at high-security SEA Games

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12: Malaysian officials want contingents and visitors to know they are not taking any chances when it comes to security at the largest regional sporting event this year, the Southeast Asian Games.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told Channel NewsAsia a high-level committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had been set up to ensure security was at the highest level possible.

“I mean you know in this day and age, a big event like that… you imagine an opening ceremony with 100,000 people in a contained environment, that’s something we have to secure,” he said.

“So we’ve been talking not just to to the police, not just to security services but to everybody involved in the games including our 13,000 volunteers – that they become eyes, ears of our security services.”

According to Malaysia’s inspector general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, 12,000 police personnel will be deployed throughout the biennial Games. Members of the Special Action Unit (UTK) and Komander 69 (VAT 69) will be stationed at every Games’ venue while athletes and officials will be escorted there from their hotels.

X-ray scanners and radiation detectors will be used at venues as well.

Meanwhile, counterterrorism officials and immigration authorities have led massive operations to weed out foreigners without proper documentation and anyone with links to militancy ahead of the SEA Games.

“We are taking every step to prepare our people to ensure what happened in the UK, Indonesia, Paris and so on won’t happen here,” Khalid said.

There have been no major terror attacks on Malaysian soil but the Home Ministry says as of June this year, it had foiled 15 attempts.

Between 2013 to June 30 2017, 258 Malaysians were arrested for suspected links to Islamic State. Another 52 foreigners from 14 countries were picked up for terror-related activities.

However, in drills across the nation at venues like KL Convention Centre near the Twin Towers and transportation hub KL Sentral, Malaysia’s security forces are preparing for varied scenarios including protests.
“I assure all visitors, athletes and officials that these SEA games will be a safe Games so everybody is welcome to enjoy to the Games,” said Khalid.–CNA

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