Govt to look for ways to ease admission of international students into local universities

KUALA LUMPUR: The Higher Education Ministry would be holding discussions with the Finance Ministry and Inland Revenue Board to ease the admission of international students into local universities.

Higher Education Deputy Minister Datuk Yusof Apdal said the ministry was closely monitoring the intake of international students into local tertiary institutions through its agency, Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS).

“The ministry will cooperate with the Finance Ministry and LHDN on the issue raised. We see there is a need for us to look into improvements so we can increase the number of international students in the country,” he said in Parliament on Thursday (May 25).

He said there are currently seven incentives implemented by the ministry to attract more students from abroad to the country.

Among the incentives are; the ministry through EMGS is cooperating with the Home Ministry and Immigration Department to ease visa application and approval processes, holding international study empowerment programmes via Study in Malaysia, Edutourism programmes as well as holding meet and greet with international students in Malaysia by the Education Department.

Yusof was responding to Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong who questioned if there would be any discussions between the ministries and LHDN to ease the admission of international students into local universities.

Dr Wee told Dewan Rakyat that universities that were publicly funded and had been given approval under subsection 44(6) of the Income Tax Act 1966, were prohibited from admitting international students.

He said the LHDN deemed that by admitting international students, the university would have breached the conditions of the subsection that is meant to benefit only Malaysians

“The government’s effort to promote Malaysia as an education hub for foreign students should be supported by all agencies.

“For example, there are universities such as Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) and Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology (TAR UMT) which are interested in taking in foreign students but they are facing challenges.

“Is the Higher Education Ministry ready to discuss with LHDN and the Finance Ministry to ease the restrictions as the universities want to increase their international students' intake?” he said in his supplementary question at the Lower House.

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