Home Ministry denies reports on additional screening for Chinese nationals

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Tourists from China visit the monumental Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Ham Abu Bakar

KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 ― Visitors from China will not have to undergo additional screening before they are allowed entry into Malaysia, the Home Ministry clarified today after rumours spread about tightened immigration procedures.

The ministry’s secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim said only the standard security screenings will be carried out when visa applications are processed.

“The ministry and the Immigration Department deny giving any agreement regarding an additional security screening procedures for Malaysian visa application process for tourists from any countries, including from the People's Republic of China,” he said in a statement today.

There were two processes for visitors to apply for a visa: either through a manual application via the One-Stop Centres, or apply for one online.

Chinese nationals are given a third option for visa application, that is through an electronic travel registration and information (eNTRI) application.

The eNTRI is a special facility provided for China citizens throughout the visa exemption period which lasts till December 31, 2018, Alwi said.

“Security screenings by the Immigration Department is a standard operating procedure before approving any visas and it acts as an early mechanism to verify the applicant's background,” the statement read.

Rumours about the additional screening came after national news agency Bernama reported that a Malaysian company was working with China to establish a safety assessment initiative for Chinese citizens coming to Malaysia.

The company's chief executive had reportedly said the initiative will act as a pre-screening and filtering system to gather data on Chinese nationals before they come to Malaysia. It was purportedly done under Chinese government directive, the report added.

The same official also reportedly told Bernama that data collected from the screening were to be shared on a one-way approach to the Malaysian government.

It was also reported that a centre to process these applications, deemed the Chinese Citizen Security Assessment Centre to Malaysia were set up at five major cities in China.