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PETALING JAYA, July 1 ― The Education and Health ministries have brought Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS), the controversial one-stop centre which streamlines intake of foreign students studying in Malaysia, under scrutiny.
Deputy Education and Higher Learning Minister II P. Kamalanathan said his ministry will reassess the role played by EMGS.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, meanwhile, criticised the alleged monopoly awarded to Qualitas Medical Group Sdn Bhd to conduct health screenings for foreign students.
Kamalanathan said his ministry was fully aware of the problems faced by foreign students and private institutions.
EMGS, which was established by the then Higher Learning Ministry, started operations in February and was tasked to curb rogue foreign students from entering the country. It was also mandated by the government to market Malaysia as an education hub.
“The ministry is currently re-evaluating the EMGS purpose and performance and will conclude our evaluation soon,” said Kamalanathan.
“All stakeholders should have been engaged before its formation and we are looking at ways to rectify the issue with a long-term solution.”
Kamalanathan was responding to a series of articles highlighted in The Malay Mail on June 17 regarding delays in visa approvals for foreign students enrolling into private colleges in Malaysia.
Several quarters have questioned the fees imposed by EMGS, including a RM1,000 “processing fee” for visa application and other charges such as RM250 for medical screenings limited to the 38 clinics under Qualitas.
Our special reports revealed a circular was sent to private institutions by the then Higher Learning Ministry on January 23, setting new rules involving the intake of foreign students and the role of the EMGS.
This did not go down well with the institutions, and the Malaysian Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association of Private Educational Institutions, Berjaya University College of Hospitality and 52 others filed a judicial review application against the government on April 30.
In their suit, they named the private higher educational institutions registrar-general and the higher education minister as respondents.