Monday, August 26, 2019

After the glitch, even darker days ahead for KLIA unless ...

Taman Tun, Aug 26: I'm happy to hear that things at the KL International Airport are back to normal after the four-day glitch. Honestly, I was sick, sad and tired of the things said about our airport and about MAHB, the people running our airports. The fact is, computer glitches happen to the best of airports. The KLIA even started off in 1998 with a glorious glitch, just like airports in Hong Kong, Thailand, Denver did [read Other airports' rocky start]. 

The important thing is, did we handle the crisis well? Some said yes (.. praise for MAHB handling of glitch); others are not too convinced (When an airport loses its value). Yet some others may agree with Senyum Kambing that the reputation of KLIA is now completely in tatters, destroyed!

I certainly do not share Kambing's view for I still believe that KLIA can still fulfil its potential and promises. But the Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad people need to go back to basic. And that means putting passengers first (again) instead of minding petty squabbles and suing the client because their CEO was too critical for the MAHB's liking!

Even the Prime Minsiter has raised concerns about unfair charges that passengers are being made to pay at the KLIA. Not to mention the potentially-disastrous airport departure levy that will take effect on Sept 1. 

It is the MAHB - not the airlines - that should be championing such causes for passengers. For a start, it can take the cue from Dr Mahathir and bring the levy up with the Ministry of Finance and talk to MAVCOM about the "unfair" Passenger Service Charge (PSC). 

Before the four-day computer glitch, some people were already asking why they needed to pay both the levy and PSC when they fly Malaysia and KLIA. After the glitch, we might want to ask why anyone would want to fly here at all ...


  1. Anonymous9:02 pm

    CEO baru cacai Lim Guan Eng. Footprints for another failure

  2. MAHB does not rule out sabotage.

    The Malay Mail of 26 August 2019 quoted MAHB Group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin as saying:-

    “We have not ruled out the possibility that the failure was caused by an act of malicious intent. Nevertheless, we will put this in the hands of the authorities to do a full investigation on the matter”.

    I too suspected the possibility of sabotage of the KLIA information and communications system, either internally or remotely, though CyberSecurity Malaysia has ruled out remote cyber attack and now it is confirmed that the problem was due to the failure of a piece of networking equipment within KLIA which was replaced. The failure in this piece of equipment affecte key functions including the Wi-Fi connection, the flight information display system, check-in counters and the baggage handling system.

    Page 31 of the Malaysia Airports 2018 Sustainability Report, entitled "Airports 4.0" states:-

    "Therefore, we have embraced digital transformation and initiated Airports 4.0 as an umbrella programme for all digital transformation initiatives. Airports 4.0 encompasses the use of Big Data Analytics and the Internet of Things devices to enhance airport operations. Among the issues addressed by Airports 4.0 currently are using Big Data Analytics to anticipate foot traffic flows, managing facilities for passenger comfort and reducing queue time and congestion."

    It also has an infographic which shows how different parts of airports' ICT systems will be integrated.

    This is MAHB's development plan till 2023,so it's a work-in-progress, it would help allay public concerns and silence the critics if MAHB would provide more details about this piece of networking equipment and why its failure resulted in all this disruption.

    At the same time, such a complex integrated and networked system is more vulnerable to being sabotaged either internally or hacked remotely, since all they need to do is to bring down a key component of the system, to bring the whole system down.

    The buzzword in ICT circles today is "Industry 4.0" and "digitalisation", whereby the operation especially of manufacturing functions will be more tightly integrated through networking and communications, and I fear that this will make such systems more vulnerable to such sabotage and attacks which could cripple the operation of businesses and adversely affect national economies.

  3. says:

    MAHB does not rule out sabotage.

    The Malay Mail of 26 August 2019 quoted MAHB Group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin as saying:-

    “We have not ruled out the possibility that the failure was caused by an act of malicious intent. Nevertheless, we will put this in the hands of the authorities to do a full investigation on the matter”.


    Dear IT. Scheiss,
    Any kind of sabotage is serious. A sabotage involving an airport is deadly serious. I'm not sure if was wise for Raja Azmi to be so "transparent" with such an extremely serious allegation (or, more accurately, suspicion). It may unnecessarily scare off potential tourists and flyers.
    - RockyBru-

  4. Anonymous said...
    CEO baru cacai Lim Guan Eng. Footprints for another failure


    Lim Guan Eng, the MOF, must be seen as a nuisance by some of the the GLCs' CEOs.
    Not too ago, the TM acting CEO Imri Mokhtar was also labelled as Guan Eng's choice and that could have deprived him the opportunity of being confirmed in that post.


  5. IT.Scheiss10:23 am

    Dear Rocky,

    Yes it is serious.

    In 2016, five immigration officers were arrested for sabotaging the Customs immigration system which caused long queues at KLIA.

    "KUALA LUMPUR: Five immigration department officers were arrested by police today as investigations on those involved in sabotaging the implementation of the Malaysian Immigration System (myIMMs) continues."

    My cousin was caught in long queues at KLIA immigration at that time.

    I was with a group of IT professionals yesterday and several of them said that they suspected the possibility of sabotage. That thought had crossed my mind too.

    Whilst CyberSecurty Malaysia had detected no cyber-attacks from outside, however that does not rule out sabotage from within, especially when this comes in the wake of the airport occupation by rioters in Hong Kong, of the khat and Zakir Naik controversies, and of the departure levy announced by Lim Guan Eng which would come into effect from 1 September 2019.

    They believe that the failure of a piece of networking equipment (such as a router or a switch) should not be so difficult to detect and isolate parts of the system from the disruption caused by it, and it can simply be replaced, which is what was done after four days in this recent case at KLIA. One of them said that he had heard that it was a network switch which had failed. A switch is a simpler network device than a router.

    They also raised questions as to how well KLIA's airport ICT system had been maintained since it first went into operation when the airport was opened in 1997 or 1998, and who is responsible to for the system's maintenance. Also was there a backup system which could take over and keep the system running, whilst the main system was repaired, apparently not in this recent case at KLIA.

    In the commercial world, this is called Business Continuity Planning, whereby say a bank has a redundant backup system, usually at a different location, loaded with a duplicate o fthe bank's data on standby, which can be brought in to allow continuation of banking operations in in case the bank's main system goes down for whatever reason.

    I remember mention of TAMS (Total Airport Management System) at KLIA way back in the late 1990s when it was opened. Cannot remember who the contractor was which implemented it.

    Take a look at Page 31 of MAHB's SUSTAINABIlITY ReporT 2018, where it speaks about "Airport 4.0"

    Look at the infographic about a "Unified Digital Platform" and you can get an idea of the complexity of the system,which appears to be a work-in-progress due for completion in 2023.

    Such a complex system may work fantastically until a problem occurs and is more exposed to sabotage, whether internally or remotely.

    I was at KLIA recently, after a long time, and kind of felt that the standard of the public toilets had declined.

    Things at KLIA seem to have gone downhill after Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, an ICT man was replaced.

    Heck! I sense a decline in the quality of our LRT and monorail stations since SPAD was disbanded. I understand from a friend or acquaintance of his that SPAD Chairman, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar ensured a high standard of our LRT and monorails systems.

    I was at Bandaraya LRT station last week and found many of the escalators were not working, with one with an "under repair" sign.

    I was at the Maharajalela monorail station on 27 May 2019 and found the OKU lift was not working, like it was not working when I was there earlier on 27 April 2017. Also on 27 May 2019, and an escalator on the same side of the lift - i.e. the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall side was also not working.

  6. IT.Scheiss7:06 am

    OK. Syed Akbar Ali (OutSyed the Box) posted this in reply to someone who sent him an article from Malaysia-Chronicle.


    Will Wallace, People of Malaysia. I can assure you that the KLIA debacle is NOT caused by an act of malicious intent. You can also ignore the report from "full investigation" as it will surely be a white-washed report.

    Here is a report from an insider.

    The layer-2 core network equipment in KLIA campus is as old as KLIA itself. 21 cyber years is equivalent to (21x4) = 84 human years.

    Those equipment is very old and should have been upgraded 10 years ago. The people in charge of overseeing these things are with tidak apa attitude.

    The backup core equipment was never tested, and when the primary core equipment failed last week, the backup equipment was unable to take over due to incompatibiltes.

    New Cisco 7000 core switches were procured in a hurry after the debacle. Network access was cutover in stages (critical areas will get access priority), and it will take one full month and millions of ringgit for KLIA/2 to fully come back up.

    Believe it or not, MAHB do not have in house expertise to do this new network deployment.

    My (Syed's) comments : The whole country is breaking down.

    A "Layer 2 core network equipment" is a switch and from the above, it looks like the breakdown of this piece of network equipment was due to poor maintenance or lack of proper maintenance.

    There was a back up system which could have taken over but it allegedly was not tested.

    So OK! Perhaps it's not sabotage after all, though MAHB apparently has not explained why they suspect sabotage.