Due process remains crucial

Strict rules for entry: Travellers undergoing identity verification at KLIA’s immigration counters. (Inset) Ruslin talking to the media after overseeing the seamless process at the airport. — CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

SEPANG: Amid the ongoing improvements in immigration facilities as part of the visa liberalisation plan for visitors to Malaysia, the Immigration Department has given the assurance that the issuing of any Not To Land (NTL) order will continue to follow due process and the standard operating procedure (SOP).

Addressing concerns that the visa liberalisation plan will make the entry procedure easier, Immigration director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh said even with the plan, all the existing requirements and SOP for entering Malaysia will be strictly adhered to without any change.

“The check-in process conducted by airline operators is important as they must ensure that tourists entering Malaysia have valid return tickets and hotel reservations for their entire stay in the country,” he told a press conference following an immigration operation at Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday.

In addition, the department will enforce the mandatory data entry through the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card system, which will be integrated with the main immigration system, he added.

Ruslin said the department has also established a special team comprising 25 enforcement personnel to monitor the entry and departure of tourists.

“This special team will prepare a report every two weeks to ensure tourists remain in Malaysia based on the validity of their visa, either for 30 or 60 days,” he said.

He also said tourists visiting Malaysia are no longer required to declare cash upon arrival.

“These foreigners are now exempt from declaring cash upon arrival, given that globally, the shift has moved towards cashless transactions and credit cards as convenient payment alternatives,” he added.

The visa liberalisation plan took effect yesterday and ends on Dec 31, 2024.

Among other things, it includes provisions for a 30-day Multiple Entry Visa (MEV) for all visitors wanting to come to Malaysia and a Social Visit Pass (long-term) for periods of up to 12 months for international students who have completed their studies in Malaysia to further their education, tour or work part-time.

The plan is aimed at generating higher revenue for the country through investments and tourism.

Immigration statistics show that from Jan 1 to Nov 15, 26 million foreigners came to Malaysia, with the highest numbers coming from Singapore (12.6 million), Indonesia (3.1 million), Thailand (2.07 million), China (1.4 million), Brunei (904,841) and India (78,532).

A total of 47,060 foreign tourists were issued the NTL order during the same period, with Indonesians recording the highest at 15,984, followed by Bangladeshis (6,906).

On Nov 27, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the visa liberalisation plan would be strengthened with integrated security and enforcement measures, including monitoring the departure of tourists from China and India.

This is in line with the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Nov 26 that the government would allow 30-day visa-free travel for visitors from China and India to Malaysia from Dec 1.

The gesture with China is made in the spirit of the strategic partnership of Malaysia-China bilateral relations, which will reach the 50-year milestone next year.

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