Visa-abusing tourists affect genuine ones


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 06 Aug 2003

BY SIM LEOI LEOI

PUTRAJAYA: Cases of Malaysians trying to work in other countries using tourist visas are affecting genuine travellers from the country. 

A Wisma Putra official said there had been several cases recently where Malaysians were detained by foreign immigration authorities on suspicion that they were trying to sneak in to work on tourist visas. 

“This has affected genuine tourists from Malaysia and has resulted in immigration authorities overseas tightening their security procedures on Malaysians.  

“Genuine tourists now come under stricter scrutiny, giving rise to various problems,” he said, adding that some Malaysians had been caught trying to enter countries like Japan, Canada, the United States and Switzerland on tourist visas to work. 

Malaysians who wanted to work in other countries, said the official, should obtain work permits through the proper channels and go there legally. 

“The immigration authorities overseas are professionals and they can usually spot someone who is trying to sneak in and work illegally. If they suspect someone doing this, they can take direct action immediately,” he pointed out. 

On July 19, three cooks from Malacca who wanted to go on a 10-day holiday to New Zealand – Liew Eng Teck, 48, Tan Teck Hing, 27, and How Ah Wan, 33, – were refused entry.  

The three claimed that they were strip-searched, handcuffed and kept in a lock-up for a night after landing at Auckland airport before being deported. 

They have since faxed their protest letter to Wisma Putra and demanded an apology from New Zealand. 

In his reply, New Zealand High Commissioner Geoff Randal said the immigration service had advised that the three be refused entry as it was not certain that they intended to abide by the conditions of a visitor's permit. 

According to an AFP report, New Zealand Customs Service spokesman Janice Rodenburg said their officers were entitled to carry out strip searches on travellers. 

The Wisma Putra official said the cooks had been detained for a night because there was no immediate flight back to Malaysia. 

“It’s the same with Malaysia when our immigration officers trace someone trying to sneak in to work here on a tourist visa.” 

The official said the New Zealand High Commission had not submitted a report on the case to Wisma Putra.  

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