Visa exemption: National security not neglected, agencies told to beef up screening, says PM


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 29 Nov 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has given his assurance that the aspects of national security will not be neglected following the government's recent announcement regarding visa exemption for several countries.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said that security agencies have been asked to strengthen security screening so that visa exemption facilities do not affect national security.

ALSO READ: Visa-free policy highlights good ties between KL, Beijing

"There are honourable members who may feel concerned because security issues have been raised, so relevant agencies have been asked to strengthen the screening so that this facility does not affect national security,” he said when tabling the Supply Bill 2024 for the second reading in the Dewan Negara Wednesday (Nov 29).

On Nov 26, Anwar announced that the government has granted a 30-day visa exemption for Chinese and Indian nationals to Malaysia from Dec 1, in the spirit of the strategic partnership of Malaysia-China bilateral relations, which will span 50 years next year.

ALSO READ: Visitors from China and India given 30 days visa free travel

He said that it is an additional facility to the existing visa exemptions enjoyed by citizens from Gulf states and other West Asian countries.

Anwar has also asked the top management of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) to manage its assets without interference from outside parties, including the government, as it is often plagued by procurement-related problems.

He said this means that ATM is fully responsible if there is a technical or implementation problem, while the government, particularly the Finance Ministry, will only negotiate in terms of equipment asset costs.

"... It’s better that we should negotiate, not through an agent, but directly with the relevant governments. We have already started with Turkey, South Korea and Italy. If there is anything to be decided, it is (the agency's) own decision, for example, the Navy decides (for Navy assets).

"Otherwise, billions of ringgit will just flow out of control. Safety and equipment issues are very critical for us. We cannot afford to spend tens of billions of ringgit and see very poor assets, compared with the capabilities of other (countries),” he said.

In the meantime, he said that the reduction of the entertainment duty rate for the Federal Territories, from 25% to the new rate is not intended to encourage immorality, given that there are still strict conditions which need to be adhered to.

The Prime Minister also touched on the issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict, by asking Malaysians not to use issues related to Palestine to further polarise the community, of different religions and races, in this country.

Anwar said that Malaysians, regardless of religion or race, need to understand that the government's stance of supporting Palestine and rejecting Israeli atrocities is on humanitarian grounds.

"Some people ask why we take sides only because Palestine is Muslim, of course, there is ignorance of understanding because the land of Palestine is indeed Arab Muslim majority, but there is also a Christian minority,” he said.

Anwar said that the Zionist regime not only demolished hundreds of mosques but also destroyed seven churches.

"So, we have to look at it from the point of view of cruelty, and from the point of view of humanity because it also involves non-Muslims,” he said.

The Budget 2024, themed "Economic Reforms; Empower People", tabled by Anwar in Parliament on Oct 13, involves an allocation of RM393.8bil, which is the highest budget ever tabled in the history of Malaysia. - Bernama

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!
   

Next In Nation

More than 14,000 investment fraud cases, losses amounting to RM1.34bil, says Bukit Aman
Ramen chain responds to brickbats it received over its salary practices
One soldier killed, five others injured as military truck overturns near Jitra
Newly opened resort treats Melaka Civil Defence Force to buffet
Taib's son shares fond memories of his late father
Establishment of Syariah Prosecution Department a positive development, says Penang Mufti
Japan's halal market a lucrative opportunity for Malaysia, says Ahmad Zahid
Decision to redevelop Sabah's trade centre questioned by GRS leaders
Dr Zul: Parents should ensure those carrying out circumcisions on their sons are certified
Johor immigration nabs 62 for immigration offences near JB

Others Also Read