Friday December 8, 2006, The Star , Malaysia
PUTRAJAYA: Visitors from Chennai, India, are no longer eligible for the visa-on-arrival (VOA) when they land in Malaysia.
They now have to obtain their visas in their own country before entering Malaysia, said Home Affairs Ministers Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad. The ruling took effect from Nov 29.
The VOA, introduced for 24 countries requiring a visa to enter Malaysia was enforced on Sept 1, and available with a RM100 fee at immigration counters. It is valid for a month.
It was introduced to draw an expected 21 million people during the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 period. Among the countries are China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Up to Nov 6, over 14,500 visitors had applied for the VOA, of which more than 10,000 were from India.
The others were from China (1,634), Sri Lanka (980), Bangladesh (862) and Pakistan (796).
Records showed that 2,789 Indian tourists had overstayed, followed by 355 from China.
Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said the Cabinet decided last week that the VOA would no longer be issued to those from Chennai as too many of them had over stayed.
“Due to many of them remaining in the country after the visa expired, I submitted a Cabinet paper to put a stop to it. The Cabinet agreed.
“I do not know how long the VOA freeze will be on those from Chennai but the number of overstaying tourists will be monitored from time to time,” he told reporters after launch ing the Biometrics Security System and the ministry’s Immigration Identity Card, cre ated by Multimedia Glory Sdn Bhd, here Friday.
Under the biometrics system the fingerprints of foreign workers are recorded to ensure they are legal workers right from the time they leave their country of origin.
It takes about 0.5 seconds to read the fingerprints, which, he said, was faster than the American system, which took about 40 seconds.
Workers from Bangladesh have been using the system for a year and it has been found to be successful in detecting many illegal workers, he said, adding that it will soon be introduced to workers from other source countries.
“There are about 1.9 million foreign workers in the country with illegal workers numbering between 500,000 and 700,000,” said Radzi.
He plans to have the system at the National Registration Department to enable all min istries and agencies to retrieve data of all Malaysians from one single platform.
On the Immigration Identity Card, he said, it had high security features and that students, workers from various sectors and those regarding Malaysia their second home would be issued with separate cards dif ferentiated by colours.
Workers who renewed their permits next year will be issued with the new cards while issuance of new cards for others will start with university students first, who numbered about 40,000, he said.