PETALING JAYA: Deputy Home Minister Nur Jalan Mohamed has indicated that the government may heighten the rigour of security checks at points of entry into the country even if this threatens economic loss.
“We don’t want to make it difficult for people to enter the country, but if there is a concern then we may have to tighten security,” he told FMT.
He acknowledged that the tighter screening might affect the tourism industry and the enrolment of foreign students in local institutions of learning. “But security is a priority and that is the home ministry’s responsibility,” he said.
He quipped that Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz and Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh might not like to hear what he was saying, but he added: “I’m sure they understand we can’t think about commercial sectors all the way. We need to think of the nation’s security too.”
Last month, in the wake of the arrest of four foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, Nur Jazlan spoke of the need to review the Education Malaysia Global Services System (EMGS), which screens foreigners seeking enrolment in Malaysian institutions of learning. He repeated that statement last Saturday, according to a Bernama report.
The EMGS screening is done by the Higher Education Ministry without the involvement of the police or the Immigration Department.
Nur Jazlan claimed that Singapore was currently stricter than Malaysia when it came to immigration screening despite its much smaller border.
“Malaysia, being a bigger country, must also take precautionary steps,” he said. -FMT