A 12-year-old girl was disallowed from boarding a flight to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur yesterday as part of aviation security laws, airport operator Malaysia Airports said today.
The girl in question had misplaced her MyKid identity card and was refused entry by aviation security officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2).
The girl and her father were supposed to leave on an AirAsia flight bound for Kuching at 1.35pm.
The girl’s father, Wan Fadillah Wan Ahmad, told the Sarawak Voice portal that he was made to fly to Kuching to collect his daughter’s passport.
He also claimed he was forced to leave his daughter “unattended for at least nine hours” at klia2 in the process.
In a statement today, Malaysia Airports said while it was sympathetic to the ordeal faced by Fadillah and his daughter, it would make no exceptions for passengers without valid identification or travel documents.
It said it was duty-bound to follow national security protocol where only original identification or other travel documents are accepted prior to boarding.
The strict adherence to the protocol was to safeguard the airport, its passengers and airlines, Malaysia Airports said.
“While we understand the inconvenience it has caused the parents and child involved, we were not able to compromise in this matter.
“In view of previous cases of human trafficking, some involving children, we hope the public, especially parents, can appreciate the diligent screening performed by our aviation security officers.
“This is to ensure the highest level of security and safety at the busiest exit point of our country.
“It is our duty to ensure that all travellers have valid and original travelling documents before they are allowed to board any aircraft,” it said.
Malaysia Airports also said Fadillah’s daughter was not left unaccompanied as reported.
She was seen with an elderly couple and they had left the airport in a car at 1.48pm.
“We were comforted that the child was not left alone at the airport, contrary to claims in the news,” it said.
Fadillah, who is Sarawak Education Department’s Management and Development Sector chief, said he returned to klia2 at 5.30pm the same day after collecting his daughter’s passport.
He then returned home to Kuching with his daughter on a 10.35pm flight, which was delayed until close to midnight.
He said he had shown the aviation security officers a snapshot of his daughter’s passport on his mobile phone. He had also reported the loss of the MyKid to police at klia2.
“We know they are doing their job, but they must understand that this situation might happen to anyone who is out of town.
“By right they should have an officer of authority who can help resolve issues such as this and use their discretion to allow an exception in cases such as mine,” Fadillah told Sarawak Voice.-FMT