There will be tighter monitoring of foreign students at public and private institutions of higher learning in the country to ensure they are not involved in criminal activities.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein yesterday said his ministry, and the Education, Higher Education and Human Resources ministries would work together to this effect.
“The students are here to study, but if investigations show they are involved in criminal activities or causing problems in the community, action must be taken,” he said after chairing his weekly meeting with immigration directors, here, today.
He said there were 110,000 foreign students in the country at the moment and
32,000 of them were on short-term courses of less than six months.
Describing foreign students’ level of involvement in crime as not serious based on information received so far, he said: “When we get a more accurate number, maybe we can reveal it. I don’t want to accuse students from any foreign country without due investigation or accurate facts and figures.”
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin denied that the 1,000 Myanmar detainees to be
deported under a recent exchange agreement were asylum seekers, but said
they were refugees.
He said the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed
their refugee status and it was finalised with Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister U
Maung Myint on Monday.
“They are not asylum seekers. I spoke with the UNHCR and made it clear that
we’re not going to stop those really eligible for refugee status.
“But this cannot be used as an excuse to dump so many people who are not eligible in our country. It will create a bigger problem in future,” he added.
Hishammuddin also said that Jelutong Member of Parliament Jeff Ooi could go ahead and sue Utusan Malaysia if he felt the daily’s report in May about his alleged agenda to make Christianity the official religion of this country was not true.
The Home Ministry investigated the matter and the Attorney-General’s Chambers decided that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute, he said, adding that his comment of “no further action” in Parliament yesterday did not mean they had not taken any action at all.