KUALA LUMPUR: International students with scholarships will be given priority to study in the country following the move by the Higher Education Ministry to introduce stricter screening process and study requirements for international students.
Its Deputy Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Monday most foreign top achievers who had received government funding or scholarships from recognised international bodies had been vetted or screened before they were allowed to study overseas by their respective bodies.
“We will focus on these students as most of them are unlikely to cause discipline problems or commit any crime during their stay,” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Nasharudin Mat Isa (PAS-Bachok), during Question Time.
Nasharudin had asked the ministry to state the steps taken to ensure the quality of international students, how to curb criminal problems among them and to deal with those who abused their study visit pass.
Saifuddin also noted the ministry was looking to attract more students from developed countries to study in Malaysia.
“For instance, we have about 20,000 local students studying in Australia, but the numbers of Australians studying in our country is only about 200.
“We are looking to collaborate with their higher education institutions to allow more foreign exchange students to come to our country,” he added.
He said there were 506 private higher learning institutions (IPTS) registered under the ministry as at Aug 31.
Out of the total, 34 institutions were registered as universities, 21 institutions registered as university colleges and six registered as branch campuses of foreign universities.
Those deemed colleges numbered 413, excluding 32 that were no longer active, he said.
In 2010, he said, 11 IPTS had action taken against them by the ministry for many offences related to premises and had been compounded a total of RM110, 000.
“In 2011, we took action against 26 IPTS, compounding them for a total of RM260, 000 for committing the same offences,” he told Dr Tan SengGiaw (DAP-Kepong).
Meanwhile, The Home Ministry said that foreign students were involved in three injury cases and eight theft cases with 16 arrests recorded last year.
“Besides that, we have arrested 128 foreign students for committing various offences involving drug trafficking, abuse and smuggling.
“We also nabbed 305 foreign students who had committed various commercial crimes,” said its Deputy Minister Datuk Wira Abu SemanYusop to Datuk Seri Dr Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad (BN-Mukah) during Question Time.
Abu Seman said that between Jan and Aug police had nabbed 101 students for committing various offences involving drug trafficking, abuse and smuggling.
“We also nabbed 227 foreign students for committing commercial crimes,” he said.