KUALA LUMPUR, 4 Nov 2008: With the move by the United Kingdom to impose visa requirement next year, Malaysians may be further inconvenienced if the other European Union countries decide to follow suit.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the UK government was studying to impose the visa requirement on 11 countries, including Malaysia, because many foreigners were found to have illegally entered the UK or had overstayed.
In light of this, he urged the 30,000 Malaysians reported to have overstayed in UK to return home immediately before the UK government takes action against them, especially after the imposition of the visa requirement next year.
He said about 271,000 Malaysians entered UK each year and if a visa application was necessary, it would only make it difficult for Malaysians to travel to that country.
Syed Hamid was speaking to reporters after he opened and chaired the 12th Meeting of the Asean Directors-General of Immigration and Heads of the Consular Affairs Divisions of the Foreign Ministries, here today.
He said to avoid other countries resorting to the move, Malaysians must respect and obey the laws of the countries they visited.
“The stubbornness of those who refuse to return to their country of origin despite being aware of the British government’s stern warning, is the cause of the visa requirement imposition.
“To those Malaysians who overstay in UK, I urge them to obey that country’s laws and think of the inconvenience they would cause to others who wish to travel to that country.”
He said the incentive of a one-way free ticket offered by the UK government had some positive effects as there had been takers, while those who were still overstaying would face stern legal action by the UK government.
“We have been given six months to remedy the situation and we are waiting to see whether the British government will really impose the visa requirement on Malaysians next year,” he said.
Syed Hamid also said that Malaysia should emulate the seriousness of other countries in preventing foreigners from staying illegally.
“Our people should also be taught not to harbour illegals. If other countries ban the entry of illegals, we also want the same,” he said. — Bernama