Extend entry date for foreign students, dept urged

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) is appealing to the Immigration Department to allow international students entry into Malaysia until October’s end.

Its president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said the department’s circular on allowing foreign students back was issued at short notice and that the students have made plans for their return since their entry was approved by the department.

“This deadline is not fair for those who were approved and made flight arrangements, ” he said, adding that higher education institutions (HEIs) would continue to enforce strict standard operating procedure to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Parmjit was commenting on the circular issued by the Immigration Department on Tuesday, stating that all foreign students who received authorisation to come to Malaysia must arrive by Oct 8, with those who arrive today onwards to be issued a “Not To Land (NTL)” notice.

The circular, sighted by The Star, was signed by department director Dr Syahmi @ Muhammad Syahmi Jaafar.

“Foreign students in private and international schools are allowed to enter the country. They must apply for approval with the Immigration Department first, ” the circular said.

International students studying in HEIs in Sabah and Sarawak, the circular added, would need approval from state government authorities.

Parmjit said existing students returned to their countries during the movement control order (MCO).

“They should be given the opportunity to finish their courses which they left midway during the MCO.

“Additionally, no new students have been given approval to enter the country. Only existing students have approval, ” he said.

Indonesian student Kenneth Aaron, 20, is upset as he has rescheduled his flight tickets twice.

He was meant to enter last month but cancelled his ticket after Malaysia’s decision to bar long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia and the Philippines into the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have burnt money from rescheduling my flights.” he said.

Final-year Indian student Parvez Alam, 22, said it was impossible for him to enter Malaysia by today.

“I wasn’t informed about this. Also, the quarantine charges are expensive. It’s hard to make sudden arrangements, ” said Parvez.

But the National Association of Private Educational Institutions president Elajsolan Mohan, said they were grateful for the Immigration Department’s consideration.

“They listened to our plight. It would be good if all students who have the approval to enter, and not just those who bought tickets, would be allowed to enter, ” he said, advising private HEIs and international schools to uphold safety standards in their campuses.

Last week, Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said foreign students planning to study in Malaysia would have to postpone their travels until Dec 31.

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