Why are Malaysians barred from leaving the country?
We’ve all heard of the stories and some of us have even witnessed our loved ones being stopped at the immigration counter. Today, more policies are being put in place by the government to restrict certain Malaysians from being able to travel overseas.
As a result of the government’s policy changes, public awareness (especially young adults) has rise, and many of these individuals are checking their immigration statuses via the official website before making their travel plans.
As of March this year, more than 820,000 Malaysians have been barred from leaving the country as they have been blacklisted for various offences. Below are the offences which have caused these citizens their freedom to travel overseas:
1. Not paying National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loans and other bank loans
Out of the total number of Malaysians barred from leaving the country, 118,892 are as a result of not paying back their student loans. The authorities intend to take further action in the near future by renewing the records on these blacklisted borrowers. If you are one of these defaulters, here is what you need to do to avoid being blacklisted in the next six months as it will be inconvenient if you are planning a trip overseas:
- Go to the nearest PTPTN office / branch.
- Check the outstanding amount.
- Make your payment.
- Your name will then be cleared to leave Malaysia within 7 working days or less.
Note: It is strongly advised that you make full payment of the outstanding amount. If you opt to pay partially, and settle the rest through monthly installments, there will be extra fees and this will then increase your total debt. You may consider applying for a personal loan to pay the outstanding PTPTN if you are blacklisted and looking to travel overseas in the near future.
Bankruptcy is a process where a debtor is declared a bankrupt pursuant to an Adjudication Order made by the High Court against the debtor if he is unable to pay his debts of at least RM30,000.00.
According to the Malaysia Department of Insolvency (MDI), a bankrupt may not travel overseas unless with prior written permission from the MDIor after obtaining a court order allowing him to do so. In order to get a written permission from the MDI, a bankrupt has to make an application by stating his intention, reasons, and duration of traveling.
The application form with supporting documents must be sent to the branches of MDI that administers this. MDI’s dedicated officers will process the application and will inform the bankrupt on the decision of his application via his preferred mode i.e e-mail, phone call or letter. The application form can be downloaded from MDI’s website under 'Forms' link.
3. Ridiculing the government
Yes, it is official. Following the scandal of 1MDB and negative publicity of the government lately, Malaysians who discredit or ridicule the government in any way can be barred from traveling overseas for three years.
Those who disparage the government while abroad will also be barred from traveling abroad again for three years upon their return, a source said in The Star news report.
The most recent example was in May when the chairman of the anti-corruption movement Bersih 2.0, Maria Chin Abdullah, was barred from leaving for South Korea to receive a human rights award.
The barring of Malaysians who discredit or ridicule the government from leaving the country is at the discretion of the Immigration Department, said its director-general Sakib Kusmi.
“The ban list is up to my discretion, based on the Act that gives the director-general the authority to do so, based on advice from the police and other enforcement agencies. For situations where the cases have not gone to court, if the police deem that the person is dangerous, we can take action,” he said.
4. Not paying your income tax
It is not unusual for people to skip paying income tax but this does not mean they will just get away with it. Among the repercussions of doing so is that they will not be allowed to travel out of Malaysia.
According to the Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN), over 120,000 Malaysians have been barred from leaving the country due to the offense. Despite the numerous reports of travel restrictions that will be imposed on Malaysian who have not settled their income tax or real-property gain tax (RPGT), many ignored the reminders with regards to payment.
New Straits Times reported last month that a total of 116,836 Malaysians have been barred from leaving the country following their failure to pay their income tax totaling RM2.55 bil as of May 31. Another 9,665 Malaysians have also been stopped from leaving the country for not paying their RPGT which amounted to RM150 million in the same period according to the same report.
So be a responsible citizen and pay your taxes to avoid higher penalties and being barred from leaving the country as a result of avoiding taxes.
5. Outstanding court cases and charged offenses.
Breaking the law will cause you to be blacklisted from leaving the country. You should face up to those charges and outstanding court cases before being accused as a fugitive.
6. Careless with your passport
Malaysians who are negligent and lose their passports three times in five years will not be issued another one for a minimum of two years. Negligence means losing your passport if your car is stolen or while you are moving house.
Those whose passports have been ruined due to carelessness – such as by leaving the document in clothes put into washing machines, will also be penalised. If your passport has been ruined twice, you will be issued a written warning. If it happens three times in five years, you will then be barred from applying for another passport one to two years.
Traveling overseas either for leisure or business should not be confined with these troubles. So, make sure you are not tied up with any of the reasons above which could cost your trip and travel privilege.