PUTRAJAYA: A wide net has been cast on those barred from leaving the country by the Immigration Department.
And it is not just tax offenders and those with criminal records who face a rude shock at border checkpoints or at the airport.
The latest figures show some 85,000 National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) beneficiaries who did not repay their loans on the department’s travel blacklist.
They are among 1.14 million people on the list which includes 701,266 Malaysians.
The department has advised Malaysians to check their Immigration status prior to making holiday plans overseas to avoid problems.
“It is the responsibility of the traveller to first check if they are cleared to leave the country.
“It doesn’t matter if you are planning to leave by flight, road, rail or sea.
“As long as you are on the blacklist, you will not be allowed to pass the Immigration checkpoint, even if you have a valid flight ticket,” Immigration security and passport division director Ibrahim Abdullah told The Star.
As of Sept 3, the department’s overseas travel restriction orders included those who have been declared with outstanding debt issues. There were 277,693 such Malaysians named by the Insolvency Department.
Malaysians who have violated a foreign country’s immigration laws, such as by overstaying or abusing their travel visas, are also not spared.
Ibrahim said the countries concerned may bar the defaulters from re-entering the country and this information would be shared with the local Immigration department, such as Malaysia’s, which would then put the defaulter on a watchlist.
A total of 32,516 Malaysians were in this category for having overstayed in another country, alongside 115,803 foreigners who have similarly overstayed in Malaysia and are now barred from leaving the country.
“If any Malaysians on the watchlist try to leave the country, they will be stopped and taken in for an interrogation until it is satisfied that they will not commit the same act in another country again,” said Ibrahim.
Stubborn tax defaulters make up a sizeable group on the travel blacklist, with 135,111 persons named by the Inland Revenue Board.
The Star has reported on Aug 26 that defaulters will not be allowed to travel abroad until they have settled their tax obligations.
The treatment will be the same for those with outstanding issues with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), such as those who failed to file their EPF contributions. There were 10,219 Malaysians and 532 foreigners listed under this category.
Another 133,314 non-citizens have been barred from leaving the country for having their citizenship revoked or application rejected by the National Registration Department.
This is on top of 88,830 foreigners who had entered the country illegally and have been classified under the Immigration’s Kes Tanpa Izin.
An unusual cluster of 210 Malaysians were also placed under this category which, according to Ibrahim, had referred to those who have been identified by the Home Ministry as having been involved in activities involving illegal foreign workers.
Several other categories were criminally-linked, including those under police observation (15,699 cases) and for drug-related charges (7,673 cases) or crime (5,090 cases).
There were also 4,953 Malaysians barred from overseas travel for violating Customs regulations.
To find out if you are barred from travelling abroad, one needs only to enter the MyKad number on the department’s travel status check portal at http://sspi2.imi.gov.my/
“If they have been barred, they must be present in person at the nearest Immigration passport and security division, where they will be told why they are not allowed to leave.
“This is to avoid identity abuse by a third party as we do not want private information to be divulged to an impostor,” Ibrahim said.
Almost 85,000 PTPTN study loan defaulters barred from leaving Malaysia
PETALING JAYA: Almost 85,000 National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) recipients have been barred from leaving the country to date.
He said the corporation would send borrowers a reminder to begin repaying their loans six months after graduation.
“If there is no payment after two months, the first notice would be sent,” he said.
This, he added, is followed subsequently by a second and third notice if there was still no repayment.
Agos said after this, the corporation would send a legal notice and subsequently blacklist the borrowers.
To lift the travel ban, Agos said they would need to make some payment immediately, depending on their income.
“They would also need to sign papers committing to pay monthly instalments and arrange for a bank’s standing instruction or salary deductions. Restructuring is allowed if they wish to vary instalment amount,” he said.
Agos said the number had reduced from some 130,000 in 2007 who were barred.
Since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that borrowers could expect a 20% discount if they repay their loans in full by March 31 next year, Agos said there had been a few enquiries on the dates.
Najib, when tabling Budget 2015 last Friday, said borrowers who were unable to do so could still get a 10% off their loans if they made continuous payments for 12 months until Dec 31, 2015.
Borrowers were given similar discounts under the Budget 2013.
The travel ban is also imposed on 277,693 Malaysians listed under the Insolvency Department for failing to settle their debts.
Tax defaulters are also on the blacklist, with 135,111 persons named by the Inland Revenue Board.
Another 32,516 Malaysians who have violated laws in foreign countries, including overstaying, have also been barred from leaving the country.
Also blacklisted are 115,803 foreigners who have overstayed in Malaysia.
Immigration’s security and passport division director Ibrahim Abdullah told The Star that as long as a person was on the blacklist, they would not be allowed to pass the Immigration checkpoint, even if they have a valid flight ticket.
“It doesn’t matter if you are planning to leave by flight, rail, road or sea,” he told The Star.
The report added that the travel ban will also be imposed on those with outstanding Employees Provident Fund issues, including those who had failed to file their EPF contributions. A total of 10,219 Malaysians and 532 foreigners are listed under this category.
Meanwhile, The Star also reported PTPTN chief executive officer Agos Cholan as saying that they had to resort to barring the study loan defaulters from leaving the country as they had ignored repeated reminders to repay their loans.
Agos had also reportedly said that to lift the travel ban, defaulters would need to make some payment immediately, with the amount determined by their income. – October 14, 2014.
Source: The Star/Asia News Network