May 15, 2020

No free stay for foreign spouses

PUTRAJAYA: Immigration will revoke its facilities for foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens who refuse to settle their bills after undergoing compulsory quarantine, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).

The government, he said, had made it clear when it wanted to enforce compulsory quarantine for Malaysians returning from abroad that it would bear the cost.

However, he said foreigners, including spouses and family members of Malaysian citizens who are permanent residents or holders of the long-term social pass, would have to pay the cost.

“We have been told that there are some who refuse to pay their quarantine bills. It has been decided that the Immigration Department will take necessary action to revoke facilities enjoyed by foreign spouses until the outstanding bill owed to the hotels are settled, ” he said.

Ismail Sabri pointed out that it was not the permanent resident status or the long-term social pass issued to foreign spouses that would be revoked.

“Immigration will revoke facilities given to pass holders. For instance, if before this they only need to renew their passes once every two or three years, now they will be made to do so every three or four months until they pay up.

“The Attorney General’s Chambers will also look into the appropriate legal action that can be taken against these people, ” he said.The minister however did not say how many foreign spouses and families had refused to pay up after being quarantined.

Since April 3, the government has imposed compulsory quarantine for Malaysians returning from overseas. To date, 33,087 Malaysian citizens who returned have been quarantined. Since April 17,26,121 individuals have completed the 14-day quarantine process and were allowed to go home.

On another matter, Ismail Sabri said the process of sending home students from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Upsi) had been temporarily halted.

This came after two of its students who had returned to Sabah were found to be Covid-19 positive, he said, adding this decision was to allow those who were there to be screened.

Authorities, said Ismail Sabri, were also trying to determine how the two students got infected.

“Since the movement control order (MCO) was enforced on March 18, students stuck in their colleges were not allowed to go out. We thought there would be no cases among them, ” he said.

Last month, the government had decided to allow students to return to their families residing in green zones and the first movement of students was on April 27.

The minister also explained that flights plying Sabah and Sarawak routes were allowed to fly full capacity as disembarking passengers would have to undergo compulsory quarantine as per state governments’ directive.He said the same applied to flights from international destinations.

“For intra-peninsula destinations, flights can only fly with 66.4% passenger capacity as social distancing needs to be observed.

“The same policy applies to flights from Sabah and Sarawak to the peninsula as we don’t observe compulsory quarantine for those coming from the two states, ” he said.

He was asked on reports of passengers who flew on two AirAsia Kuala Lumpur-Tawau flights and were asked to immediately get tested for Covid-19 after six passengers were found positive.

The affected flights were AK5742 on May 1 and AK5740 on May 4.

Source from : By MAZWIN NIK ANIS https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/05/15/no-free-stay-for-foreign-spouses

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