KIEV: Ukraine said on Wednesday (Jul 17) that it has been holding the driver of the trailer carrying the missile that shot down a Malaysian airliner in 2014, saying he had been captured two years ago and was now serving a sentence in Ukraine.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine during a rebellion by Russian-backed separatists, killing all 298 people on board. A Dutch-led team of investigators has blamed Russia for supplying the surface-to-air missile that shot it down.
The incident was the deadliest in a war between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces that has killed more than 10,000 people. Major fighting ended with a peace deal in 2015, although deadly clashes still occur.
On the fifth anniversary of the incident, Vitaly Mayakov, an official of Ukraine's SBU security service, said the driver who brought the missile into Ukraine had been caught two years ago and was now serving a sentence in Ukraine.
"We have determined the individual from among the fighters who brought it on the vehicle to Donetsk," Mayakov told a news conference. "We detained him, he is now serving a sentence here, in Ukraine."
He did not identify the driver or explain why this information was not announced earlier.
Mayakov said that more than 150 people involved in transporting the missile launcher to and from Ukraine had been identified.
The Dutch-led international team has named four suspects for the attack on the plane: three Russians and a Ukrainian.
Dutch authorities said Russia has not cooperated with the inquiry and is not expected to surrender defendants. The Russian Foreign Ministry denied that it had not cooperated while saying on Wednesday the investigation was intended to damage Moscow's reputation.
SINGAPORE: A professional engineer was fined S$50,000 for failing to exercise due diligence in certifying the safety of 14 scissors lifts, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) said on Thursday (Jul 18).
Tan Juay Pah, 61, who was an authorised examiner (AE) for lifting equipment registered with MOM, was convicted of five charges under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.
Ten other charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing, MOM said, adding that Tan's AE status was revoked.
Providing details of the cases, MOM said Tan issued a total of 15 LE Certificates (Certificate of Test/Thorough Visual Examination of Lifting Equipment) between March 2016 and October 2016 for 14 scissors lifts, even though he did not examine nor test the equipment.
"Scissors lifts are used to provide a safe means of access in the form of an elevated work platform for workers carrying out work-at-height activities," the ministry said.
"The failure to detect faulty safety devices or defective structural components of the scissors lifts through a thorough test and examination could lead to catastrophic consequences such as serious injuries or even death."
SCISSORS LIFTS "NEVER EXAMINED"
One of the lessees, who received a copy of the LE Certificate but whose scissors lift was never examined by Tan, reported the case to MOM. The ministry commenced investigations into the LE certificates issued by Tan.
Other lessees confirmed that no test nor examination were carried out by any AE on the scissors lifts before they received the LE Certificates.
In one case, Tan reportedly checked two scissors lifts at Marina Bay Sands on Sep 12, 2016 and certified both as safe for use.
Following investigations, MOM found that both the lifts were deployed and kept within a restricted area in Marina Bay Sands which Tan did not have access to. In another case, MOM found that Tan had merely taken photographs of two scissors lifts and did not conduct any functional tests to check if they were safe for use.
"As a professional entrusted with the responsibility of certifying high-risk machines are safe for use, Tan failed to exercise due diligence during certification which could potentially endanger the safety of persons using the lifting equipment," MOM said.
This is the first time an AE has been convicted for failing to exercise due diligence in making certification or conducting any test or examination of any lifting appliance or machine, the ministry added.
Mohd Ismadi, Director of MOM’s occupational safety and health specialist department said: “By issuing certificates without conducting proper examinations and tests on the scissors lifts, Tan blatantly disregarded his duty as an AE and knowingly put the users of the scissors lifts at risk.
"MOM will not hesitate to take companies or individuals to task for serious breaches that would compromise the safety and health of workers.”
A scissors lift used in a workplace must be thoroughly tested and examined once every six months by an AE who will issue a certificate to indicate that the scissors lift has been checked and is safe for use.
Any person who is convicted of an offence under the Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations may be fined up to S$20,000, and could face a jail term of up to two years.
SINGAPORE: The principle of meritocracy is not to be blamed for the issues of inequality and social mobility facing Singapore, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah on Thursday (Jul 18) as she spelt out the approach taken by the 4G team to tackle such challenges.
The crux of the matter, in fact, is that while Singapore has worked “very hard” to provide equal opportunities, those from the lower income and disadvantaged backgrounds might find it harder to access these opportunities, she said.
Speaking at a social service research conference organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS), Ms Indranee, who is also Second Minister for Education, questioned the “common call” to rethink meritocracy as the Government addresses the issue.
“If that means that we should do away with letting people advance on merit, that we should abolish the principle of choosing the person best able and best equipped to do the job, then the answer is no, that cannot be the right approach.”
Those who can achieve more should also not be held back in a bid to equalise outcomes, she added.
“Which parent doesn’t want their child to be the best they can be? Students too have their own aspirations. Each new generation will want to reach for the greatest possible achievement for themselves. It would not be right to hold them back."
EARLY GENERATIONS LIFTED BY POLICIES
She highlighted several statistics to show the progress made in the quest for a more just and equal society as a result of meritocracy, along with heavy investments in education and people, as well as policies aimed at economic development, job creation, income growth, affordable quality healthcare for all.
Today, less than one per cent of the Primary 1 cohort did not complete secondary education. The proportion was a higher 45 per cent in 1980.
More than 90 per cent of Singaporean youths go to the Institutes of Higher Education today compared to just 10 per cent who made it to post-secondary education in 1965.
More than 90 per cent of Singaporeans own their homes today, compared to less than 60 per cent in 1980.
“The cumulative effect of these policies was to generate a rising tide that lifted all boats. The early generations saw significant improvements within their lifetimes and were able to give their children a better life than what they experienced," said Ms Indranee.
But economic progress has also resulted in different levels of resources, creating low, middle and higher income families.
"It is natural for families to want to use their resources to help their children advance, be it in the form of extra educational material, enrichment programmes, or social networks," she added.
However, she said this disparity will translate into "very different outcomes and hinder social mobility".
Ms Indranee noted that there other "deep-seated" forces at play.
CHANGING ECONOMIC STRUCTURE, SLOWER GROWTH
“In an era where growth is driven by the knowledge-based industry in which the well-educated and exceptionally talented reap more rewards than others, economic and social benefits quickly accrue to those at the top,” she said.
Changes in Singapore’s economic structure have widened differences in wage, she added.
Referring to the changes driven by rapid technological development, automation and artificial intelligence, she said: "Some of these changes have had the effect of worsening wage dispersion, threatening to deepen the divide between higher-skilled and lower-skilled workers."
Lower-skilled workers risk being shut off from the new opportunities being created, she added.
In addition, Singapore's economy has "naturally slowed" as the nation has become more developed and caught up with more advanced economies around the world.
"A slower pace of economic growth directly translates into how much progress each new generation is likely to see," she said, adding that it could also lead to stagnation for-lower skilled workers who are unable to adapt.
Together, the trends and tendencies pose new challenges to society that did not exist in earlier decades, Ms Indranee said.
ISSUES AND CONSEQUENCES
Left unchecked, the social mobility and inequality issues will cause less advantaged Singaporeans to be left behind, and to feel that the opportunities available can only be accessed by a privileged few, Ms Indranee said.
"As the needs and viewpoints in our society continue to become more diverse, such a situation will make it easy for new fault-lines to emerge between the haves and have-nots, or the will-haves and the won’t-haves," she said.
In order to prevent the sense of being "one united people" from eroding, there has to be active intervention to mitigate inequality and enhance mobility, she said.
Explaining how the 4G leadership will tackle the issues, she said support will be strengthened to uplift the bottom of society – “to improve access to these opportunities among the less advantaged and make the most of the opportunities on offer, to bridge the shortfalls and narrow the gaps so that all can rise together - an enabling meritocracy if you will”.
She cited assistance schemes in areas like housing, education, health and employment.
Ms Indranee also assured the audience that the Government will strive to ensure that no one will be denied opportunities to improve the condition of their life.
"We will make sure that all are enabled to take advantage of the opportunities we provide in education, skills training, housing and other relevant areas," she said.
Ms Indranee emphasised the need for lower income and disadvantaged families to make the most of opportunities.
In order to change their lives, mitigate inequalities and ensure social mobility, players like social service agencies, individuals and communities at large have to work with families to look at the factors that land them in their situations, which are “myriad and complex”, she said.
“They range from unemployment, financial difficulties, poor health, disability, family problems, among others. Often these problems are beyond the families’ control. Their circumstances can be overwhelming, and sometimes, it is difficult for them to even reach out for help,” she said.
In helping such families, the work of MOE and the Ministry of Social and Family Development converge, she said.
She pointed to “Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce” (UPLIFT), set up by the the Ministry of Education (MOE) to examine problems and issues faced by underperforming students from disadvantaged families, understand what exactly prevents them from doing better, identify gaps and devise practical solutions as one way of helping underperforming students from disadvantaged families.
The Education Ministry is looking to expand partnerships between citizen volunteers and schools, Mr Indranee said.
"When the community is involved, it works two ways: it strengthens the ecosystem of care and support for disadvantaged students and at the same time, offers people an avenue to give back," she said.
Touching on the consequences of failure, Ms Indranee said: “If we fail – if widening income inequalities result in a rigid and stratified social system, with each class ignoring the others or pursuing its interests at the expense of others – our politics will turn vicious, our society will fracture and our nation will wither.”
“This is not just the task of government. It is the task of everyone because it affects all of us,” she stressed.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand retailer Gun City, which sold weapons to the man accused of shootings at two Christchurch mosques that killed 51 people and injured dozens, has aroused concern with plans for a megastore in the South Island city, media said on Wednesday.
Radio New Zealand said some of those living near the proposed site were upset at the prospect of the store, sprawling over 300 sq m, along with warehouse, office and carpark, set to open in August.
"I don't think many people will be very comfortable to have guns around their homes in a residential area," one of the residents, Harry Singh, told the broadcaster.
Gun City did not immediately reply to reporters request for comment.
The location is just 1km from the racetrack where New Zealand held its first firearms buyback on Saturday, four months after its worst peacetime mass shooting.
The accused gunman, Brenton Tarrant, bought four weapons and ammunition between December 2017 and March 2018, Gun City owner David Tipple said in March.
Tarrant, due to stand trial in May, has pleaded not guilty to 92 charges over the attacks, including New Zealand's first terrorism charge.
Tipple told Radio New Zealand he was sorry some people were concerned about the new store, but the chain was "willing and happy to introduce those persons to the positives of firearms".
A gun reform law passed in April bars the circulation and use of most semi-automatic firearms, parts to convert firearms into semi-automatics, magazines over a certain capacity and some shotguns.
The government has allotted NZ$208 million (US$139 million) for buybacks nationwide to compensate gunowners who surrender banned weapons. Police took in 224 firearms on Saturday, with 22 similar events scheduled this week.
With a population of just under 5 million and an estimated 1.5 million firearms, New Zealand ranks 17th in the world in numbers of civilian firearms owners, the Small Arms Survey shows.
SINGAPORE: Facing the “loud and unmistakable” warning of climate change, Singapore needs to act, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Jul 17).
Speaking at the 2019 Partners for the Environment forum, Mr Masagos stressed that tackling climate change is a “pressing priority” and an “existential challenge” for Singapore.
“Time is running out,” he said. “Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued one of the starkest warnings from the scientific community – an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius in global warming could occur as early as 2030.
“The warning is loud and unmistakable: We must act now or we may well face the ultimate threat to human survival ... the end of ‘life as usual’.”
Citing floods and mudslides in Japan as well as the heatwave in Europe, Mr Masagos said extreme weather events are “not one-off events, but symptoms of a much greater problem”.
“When I was growing up in the 60s, the hottest month in Singapore was about 27 degrees Celsius on average,” he added. “That is now the average temperature of the coolest months in this decade, and our hottest days exceed 34 degrees.
“What climate science is piecing together, foretells the calamity that will befall the world if we all do too little too late.”
NEW CLIMATE SCIENCE UNIT, SEA LEVEL RESEARCH PROGRAMME
The Government will set up a new climate science unit next year to spearhead Singapore’s climate science master plan as well as strengthen the country’s capabilities in climate science research., Mr Masagos said.
The unit will focus on research into rising sea levels and other key areas of climate science with "significant impact on Singapore". These include the impact of climate change on Singapore’s water resources and flood management; the impact of warming trends on health and the energy sector; biodiversity and food security.
It will also collaborate with institutes of higher learning and research institutes.
The unit will be set up under the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS), which was established in 2013 under the Meteorological Service Singapore to develop research expertise in the weather and climate of Singapore and Southeast Asia.
CCRS will also launch a S$10 million National Sea Level Research Programme over the next five years, in order to better understand sea levels around Singapore and develop more robust sea level projections.
It will issue grant calls to local research institutes to seek project proposals next month.
“Climate change sets us a monumental, inter-generational task - how to ensure that our little red dot does not disappear below the waves,” said Mr Masagos. “Climate science tells us it is not a matter of ‘if’ the sea level will rise but a matter of ‘when’ and ‘how much’.”
SINGAPORE: A father of six was sentenced to 10 years' jail and six strokes of the cane on Wednesday (Jul 17) for raping an 11-year-old neighbour.
The 37-year-old man was close to the family of the victim as they lived in the same block. Their names and address cannot be revealed due to a gag order protecting the victim's identity.
In July 2017, the girl moved to the block and was introduced to his family by another family. All three families were close and had gatherings at their homes.
The girl's stepfather gave him a job as an operations manager at his transport company, and he was assigned a delivery van for work.
The man began chatting with the child on WhatsApp in March 2018.
The girl told him that she liked him, but knew that he was already married, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Kavita Uthrapathy and Lim Ying Min.
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER, ACCUSED SAID
In response, the man told the girl: "Men (can) have four wives."
When she asked if her age was a concern, he replied: "Age (is) just a number."
The man began calling the girl "darling" in his WhatsApp messages to her, and they sent each other pornographic videos.
Their first sexual encounter occurred on May 10 last year, when he invited the girl to his flat. They began kissing on his bed and he molested her. She left the flat when he said he needed to pick up his wife and children.
Five days after this, the sexual activity escalated to statutory rape.
At about 7.30pm on May 15, 2018, the man picked the girl up in his delivery van, which he drove to deck 6A of a nearby multi-storey car park.
He and the girl kissed on a sofa at the back of the van, and he made her perform a sex act on him before raping her without a condom.
When the girl got home, she realised that her underwear was stained with blood. She had been a virgin and started menstruating only two years before this.
About a month later, the victim's parents confronted her as they became suspicious about her communications with the man.
She confessed to engaging in sexual activity with him. The group confronted the man who similarly admitted to the act. He was arrested that same day.
The man later admitted to the police that he was not in any relationship with the victim, and that he knew it was an offence to engage in sexual intercourse with an underage person.
He also told police that he had done it "for fun" and wanted to "entertain and let her experience the sexual acts".
The girl did not get pregnant from the incident.
PROSECUTION AND DEFENCE AGREE ON SENTENCE
The man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one charge of statutory rape, with another three charges of committing an indecent act with a child, sexual penetration of a minor and possessing obscene films taken into consideration.
Both the prosecution and defence lawyer Mohamed Fazal Abdul Hamid had asked for the sentence that was eventually given.
The prosecutors said this was "a case of gross sexual exploitation of a naive 11-year-old by the 37-year-old accused who treated the victim as his personal plaything for his own sexual gratification".
"Children, like the victim, deserve the full protection of the law against sexual predators like the accused," said the prosecution.
They added that the man had sexually groomed the victim, who was at a tender age and not in a position to appreciate or understand the implications of a sexual relationship.
He had exposed her to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and an unwanted pregnancy, said the prosecutors.
Defence lawyer Mr Fazal said he was in agreement with the prosecution on the length of sentence.
He said his client had pleaded guilty and "will regret committing (these offences) for a very long time to come".
This was the man's first brush with the law, the lawyer said, and he had acted "out of character".
ACCUSED SUPPORTS WIFE AND KIDS, EX-WIFE AND KIDS
The man was the sole breadwinner and supported his family on a S$3,000 monthly salary, said the lawyer. His wife was an undischarged bankrupt and jobless, and two of their three children together are still in school.
On top of this, the man also gives money to his ex-wife to support three other children he had with her.
"Lastly, (he) asks for forgiveness from his victim and promises not to commit any other offences in the future," said the lawyer. "He has truly learnt his mistake and is truly remorseful."
He noted, however, that it was the victim who first sent the man a message, and that both parties had sent each other explicit videos.
"It's not a case where it was one-way traffic," said the lawyer from IRB Law. "The accused did not expressly say to the victim to keep their affairs a secret from her parents."
In response, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said the victim was a child, at only 11 years of age.
"The accused was an adult and should have known better than to engage in sexual activity with an underage girl, and he has admitted that he knew it was an offence to do so, and still proceeded to go ahead," she said.
Justice See Kee Oon said he agreed that both sides' submissions on the sentence were appropriate. He granted the defence's request for the man to have a word with his family after the hearing, before returning to prison.
For statutory rape, he could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.
CAPE CANAVERAL: Fifty years ago on Tuesday, three American astronauts set off from Florida for the Moon on a mission that would change the way we see humanity's place in the universe.
The crew's surviving members, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, are set to reunite at the same launchpad on Tuesday, the start of a week-long series of events commemorating Apollo 11.
Their commander and the first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, passed away in 2012.
But Aldrin and Collins, 89 and 88 respectively, will meet Tuesday at precisely 9:32am (1332 GMT) at the Kennedy Space Center's pad 39A to kick off the festivities.
Their spacecraft took four days to reach the Moon, before its lunar module, known as "Eagle," touched the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. Armstrong emerged a few hours later.
Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command module Columbia, their only means of returning back to Earth.
"They knew, I knew, if they couldn't get off for some reason there was nothing I could do about it," he told reporters in New York in May as part of a series of events. "I had no landing gear on Columbia, I could not go down and rescue them."
Aldrin has remained relatively more elusive but has also taken part in a few events, including a gala dinner last Saturday where the cheapest ticket cost us$1,000.
Aging but active on Twitter, and always seen in stars-and-stripes socks, Aldrin has faced health scares and family feuds, culminating in a court case over finances, which was settled in March.
On Tuesday, he will be the undeniable star of the show, as the second man to have stepped foot on the Moon. Only four of the 12 men who have done so remain alive.
Despite the festivities, neither the US nor any other country has managed to return a human to the Moon since 1972, the year of the final Apollo mission.
President George Bush promised to do so in 1989, as did his son president George W Bush in 2004, while pledging to also march forward to Mars.
But they both ran up against a Congress that wasn't inclined to fund the adventures, with public opinion markedly changed since the height of the Cold War.
For his part, President Donald Trump relaunched the race to re-conquer the Moon and Mars after taking office in 2017. But the immediate effect has been to create turbulence within the space agency.
Last week, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine fired the head of the human space exploration directorate Bill Gerstenmaier, likely over disagreements over the 2024 ultimatum set by Trump to return an American to the Moon.
Five years appears unlikely given that neither the rocket, capsule or lander are yet ready or even finalized.
"We don't have a lot of time to waste, if we're going to have new leadership, it needs to happen now," Bridenstine told CSPAN last week.
SINGAPORE: A 30-year leasehold site near Sembawang Park has been put up for tender to pilot a new residential care community concept for persons with dementia.
The site at Gibraltar Crescent will be specially designed to provide a safe, home-like environment where residents are assisted to live independently, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a joint press release on Tuesday (Jul 16).
The dementia care village, when completed, will also have tailored services and programmes, which will help promote participation and social interactions among its residents, the release said.
"As a new residential option catering to individuals with varying stages of dementia, this pilot complements the home-based care and dementia day care services available today," URA and MOH said.
"We hope that the pilot will offer insights into market demand for such facilities and the community needs of persons with dementia, which will contribute to the development of suitable dementia care models in the future."
The site comprises a cluster of 10 state bungalows that sit on two plots measuring 26,350.7 sqm and 1,756.3 sqm.
The maximum permissible gross floor area is 9,170 sqm, and another 900 sqm for extensions to the 10 existing bungalows.
At least 60 per cent of the gross floor area must be for residential use, while the remaining 40 per cent may be used to develop residences, health and medical care facilities such as a nursing home or centre-based aged care services, a shop and restaurant or any other ancillary institutional facility.
Serviced apartments, hostels and funeral parlours may not be built on the site.
URA and MOH said that a concept and price revenue tender will be adopted to evaluate the bids received for the site, so as to ensure that the selected concept proposal aligns with the Government's vision for the dementia care village.
Under this system, interested parties are required to submit their concept proposals and tender prices separately.
The concept proposals will be first evaluated against a set of criteria specified in the tender, including assessment of the bidder's proposed model of care for persons with dementia and the quality of care programme and services offered.
Concept proposals that are shortlisted will proceed to the second stage for evaluation, which will be based on price.
The site will then be awarded to the tenderer with the highest bid price among those with acceptable concept proposals.
The tender closes at noon on Nov 19.
SINGAPORE: Lapses have been uncovered in procurement practices, the management of Haj fees and administration of IT rights at the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) said in its annual audit report released on Tuesday (Jul 16).
In a statement responding to the report, MUIS said it takes AGO's findings "seriously and acknowledges the lapses observed", but "has found no evidence of fraud".
In its audit for the financial year 2018/19, the AGO said test checks it ran on MUIS found lapses in 12 tenders and quotations worth S$5.54 million. In these cases, the evaluation sub-criteria or scoring methodology were only determined after the tender or quotation had closed.
In another four tenders and quotations worth S$1.38 million, MUIS did not evaluate the proposals according to its published evaluation criteria.
Errors were also found in the scores awarded during the evaluation process of another six tenders and quotations worth S$4.4 million.
"For some of these cases, had the proposals been properly evaluated, the awarded vendors could have been different," AGO said in its report.
"As a result there was inadequate assurance that the procurement had met the Government procurement principles of transparency, open and fair competition, and value for money," it said.
MUIS, which is a statutory board under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, said the lapses in procurement practices were due to "human error and procedural weaknesses".
"MUIS acknowledges these lapses, and immediate steps have been taken to address the gaps and ensure alignment with government best practices."
Training in governance and finance has been stepped up for its staff members, and more resources deployed to procurement and IT-related functions, it said.
LAPSES IN MANAGEMENT OF HAJ FEES
Administration fees are collected by MUIS for those applying to perform the Haj. If an applicant dies before performing the Haj, the fee is to be refunded to the estate of the deceased.
The AGO found there were 226 Haj applicants who died between 2012 and 2018, but the fees collected – amounting to a total of S$57,900 – had not been refunded.
The issue had been flagged before in its audit of MUIS in FY2012/13, AGO said.
Of the 226 cases, 80 per cent (181 families) have either received their refunds or are in the process of being refunded, MUIS said. The remaining 45 families were not contactable.
Currently, MUIS processes refunds when it is informed of the death of a Haj applicant by his family. It said it plans to review the refund process.
WEAKNESSES IN MANAGEMENT OF USER RIGHTS
AGO's checks also found that MUIS' electronic halal system and zakat receipt system had weaknesses in their management of access rights. In the eHalal system, conflicting access rights were granted to some users, allowing them to conduct inspections and approve their own recommendations.
MUIS said that these are "legacy IT systems" with technical limitations. The issues have been addressed with the implementation of new IT systems in January 2019, it said.
MUIS also did not conduct annual reviews of access rights for users – as required by the Government and MUIS itself – in four out of five IT systems it checked, AGO said.
Regular account and access rights reviews will be conducted going forward, MUIS said.
SYDNEY: Passengers faced long queues and flight delays at Sydney Airport on Monday morning (Jul 15) after a "border force issue" caused passport machines to stop working, local media reported.
A passenger told news.com.au that passengers were being processed manually at the security gate as the electronic system at border control was down.
A spokesperson for the Australian Border Force confirmed there was an issue but said authorities were still determining the extent and cause of the issue, ABC News reported. The outage was nationwide, the news outlet added.
A Melbourne International Airport spokesperson told ABC News there were delays in processing passengers and longer queues, but that no flights were delayed.
Responding to complaints from passengers on social media, Sydney Airport confirmed it was experiencing delays.
"We were experiencing delays due to a nationwide border force issue," it said on its official Twitter account at about 10am (8am Singapore time).
Netizens took to social media to complain about massive queues and waiting times.
"At Sydney airport and the queues through immigration (are) a disgrace! Not a good loom for Sydney or Australia!" posted Twitter user Neen Welsby.
In an update on Twitter at about 11.20am, the Australian Border Force said the issue had been rectified and that staff members were working to minimise earlier delays.
"Our staff are working hard to minimise earlier delays caused by an outage," it said. "All issues have now been rectified. We appreciate the patience of passengers at this time and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused."
The incident comes just a few months after a computer outage caused severe delays across international airports in Australia.
April's incident, which was identified as an e-gate system outage, affected "inbound and outbound passenger processing" at Australia's international airports.