KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Foreign spouses and children of Malaysians who do not hold long-term permits are allowed back into the country as long as they apply for the necessary permits as soon as they pass customs and immigration at border entry points.

Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the government had received a lot of requests asking that these family members be reunited after Malaysia shut its borders in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The special Cabinet meeting discussed the situation of our citizens who have foreign spouses and children who are not allowed into the country because they do not hold any long-term permits,” said the senior minister on the catch-22 situation.

“In order for them to apply for the permits, they must be in the country, but without the permits, they cannot enter the country. So, they have been barred from entering.

“Therefore, we have decided to allow them to come to Malaysia but they must apply for the permits immediately after they have passed the immigration checkpoint.”

Similarly, he said the meeting had also decided to allow Malaysians to visit ailing family members abroad.

However, they must also apply for a permit from the Immigration Department for these emergency cases.