GEORGE TOWN: Foreign embassies in Malaysia are ready to help foreigners with expired social visit passes who are facing difficulties travelling back home.
Honorary consul-general of Fiji in Penang Datuk Cha Hoo Peng said the embassies were willing to help anyone facing issues regardless of which country they are from.
“Those who are planning to leave Malaysia may need a longer time to make the required arrangements as they would need to book their flights and get Covid-19 tests done.
“However, we urge the government to implement more serious action and effective measures to prevent those who have been granted extension from abusing their social visit passes, ’’ he said yesterday.
A representative from the Chinese Consulate-General here, who declined to be named, said the consulate had recently sent out notices to Chinese nationals here reminding them to adhere to the guidelines set by the Malaysian government.
“We reminded those with expired social visit passes to leave the country by April 21 as advised by the Malaysian government.
“As for the application for extension, we are still in the midst of getting more information from the Immigration Department.
“We will need to know more details to help our people who are currently here, ” she said.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin reportedly said foreigners whose social visit passes expired and could not leave Malaysia by April 21, could appeal to have their stay extended to sort out travel arrangements.
He said the applications for an extension social visit passes would be dealt on a case-by-case basis.
The Immigration Department also clarified on the latest ruling, saying those who face problems returning home before the deadline could apply for a special pass to have their stay in Malaysia extended.
Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud reportedly said applications must be accompanied by a support letter from their respective embassies.
Last week, foreigners received emails from their embassies advising them to leave Malaysia before April 21 if their social visit passes expired on or after Jan 1,2020.
Meanwhile, an American national, who wished to be known only as Sally, 66, said it was heartening to hear the Malaysian government was sympathetic to foreigners stuck here and unable to travel home.
“I have been compiling paperwork to be submitted to the Immigration Department to request for an extension, ” she said.
“I am still trying to figure out what to do with my belongings and the cats on such a short notice.”
Sally said the US authorities had issued an advisory not to travel to New York or her home state Connecticut as it was not safe to do so.
“I don’t want to endanger my family or friends, especially my 93-year-old mother, by returning home. It will be safer for all if I am allowed to stay here, ” she said.
Sally added that she hoped the relevant authorities would consider allowing those who were in the high risk category, such as individuals over the age of 60, to remain here until they received their Covid-19 vaccination as opposed to being sent home to their countries of origin.
“It is rather risky for us to travel without being vaccinated.
“I also have chronic asthma and inflammatory disease, ” she said.