Malaysiakini Letter

Appoint sky marshals to ensure safety of airline passengers

Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow  |  Published:  |  Modified:

In light of the recent event where Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH128 was forced to return to Melbourne Airport after a passenger attempted to enter the cockpit, the airlines of other related agencies should consider appointing sky marshals on board aircrafts.

This is to ensure the safety of passengers and employees on board, and security is at the highest level at all times. The safety of anyone on board cannot be compromised at any cost, as such concrete action must be taken.

We need to accept the reality that we are now living in a dangerous world where anything can happen beyond our control. It is difficult to know people's true intentions and whether they mean good, or harm, to others.

In this regards, we have no choice but to step up security measures. Of course, we can always rely on flight attendants to do their job and ensure everything goes on smoothly during a flight, but it would be difficult for them to attend to every matter that happens on board. As such, appointing a sky marshal would ensure that security issues are taken care of.

The duties of the sky marshal can include profiling passenger prior to boarding, inspecting the aircraft for possible explosives, monitoring "suspicious" passengers before, during and after a flight, as well as intervene when a passenger interferes with the duties of a flight crew of create ruckus on board.

The appointment of sky marshals would not be something new as several other countries have taken such steps. The process of appointment of such officers can be discussed between airline companies, related agencies, concerned ministries and enforcement agencies, as well as security experts.

DR MUZAFFAR SYAH MALLOW is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Syariah & Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM).

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