KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 ― Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) has demanded Putrajaya scrap its plan to eliminate visa fees for tourists, especially from China, claiming this will add to an already bloated immigrant population here.
Isma deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya argued that the policy would trigger an influx of illegal immigrants to Malaysia as the country's enforcement laws on the matter were still weak.
“There are too many foreigners in this country, whether they are registered or not.
“Does the government want to give the visa and open more room for more immigrants?” Aminuddin was quoted as saying in an article on Ismaweb, the group's official site.
The removal of visa fees for tourists, among them from China, was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday as part of several key strategies to boost tourism and ensure balanced economic growth, inclusiveness and sustainability amid cuts to Malaysia's 2015 budget.
“We welcome tourists, from China or any other country. But they have to be charged for their visas so that it is easier for monitoring purposes,” the Isma leader added.
He did not, however, elaborate how charging for visas would improve the monitoring of tourists.
The policy does not remove the necessity to obtain visas by tourists who are currently required to, but merely removes the fee that is collected for applications.
Last year, the group's president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman was charged under the Sedition Act for labeling Malaysian Chinese “intruders”.
He had claimed that the influx of Chinese migrants into pre-independence Tanah Melayu had been “a mistake” which must be rectified. The case is still ongoing.