KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has asked the Australian government to exempt it from a visa ruling that those under 18 studying in Australia must be accompanied by their parents or guardians throughout their studies until they reach 18.
Malaysia's head of delegation to the 11th Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi conveyed the message to Australian senator Jeannie Ferris at the side-lines of the meeting here yesterday.
He said the new regulation, passed by the last Australian Parliament was impractical as it would be “impossible ” for parents or guardians to escort these students.
“Their guardians have to work here.It will be impossible for them to stay in Australia to look after the students,” he told reporters.
Ahmad Zahid said Ferris assured him that she would bring up the issue at Australia ’s next parliament meeting.
“I hope Malaysia’s appeal for the exemption will be taken into consideration,” he said,adding that Malaysia also wanted to clear the misconception that Malaysia was not a safe country as indicated by the Tourist Advisory Board.
“She (Ferris)told me that Malaysia is clearly a safe country unlike what was portrayed by the Western media,” he said,adding that Ferris had given her assurance that she would convey the message that Malaysia was a safe country.