Politics

Ismail Sabri: No more leeway for foreigners with expired visas

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said the Immigration Department’s offices have opened since the conditional movement control order period. — Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said the Immigration Department’s offices have opened since the conditional movement control order period. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, June 19 — Foreigners in Malaysia with expired visas must arrange to renew these immediately as Immigration services have resumed, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri.

He also noted the Immigration Department’s offices have opened since the conditional movement control order (MCO) period.

“If they want to stay longer, they need to set an appointment and go to the Immigration offices to renew their visas. 

“Claiming the offices were closed when you arrived is no excuse,” Ismail said during the thrice-weekly press conference.

He was answering a media query concerning recent action taken against foreign citizens, some from India, who arrived in the country before the MCO began on March 18 and were subsequently detained by the department for overstaying.

Ismail previously said the government would not take action over visas that expired during the MCO and foreigners with these may exit the country without penalty while those wishing to remain must make appointments with the Immigration Department to renew their travel documents.

Recent reports alleged that some tourists with expired visas were being held in Immigration detention centres despite such assurances.

“I am unsure if they were arrested merely for overstaying. It is possible they may have entered using a tourist visa, but ended up working in restaurants, barbershops, or the like.

“Such behaviour is against Malaysia’s immigration policy, and will surely invite official action against the individual who does so,” Ismail said.

Yesterday the police-led compliance operational task forces conducted 69,119 inspections to monitor and enforce adherence to the recovery movement control order’s (RMCO) standard operating procedures. Approximately 3,821 teams involving 16,360 personnel participated.

15 individuals were arrested for violating the RMCO, of which seven were remanded, three given police guarantee (jaminan polis) and five issued compounds.

The various offences for the detainees include activities at karaoke or family entertainment centres, activities in pubs or nightclubs, going for massages at reflexology centres, and activities which break the social distancing norm.

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Lim Li Yin

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