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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Background checks on foreign missionaries



PARLIAMENT | All foreign missionaries who are coming to Malaysia to hold religious talks would have their background vetted prior to their speaking engagements.
Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said his ministry is conducting the checking with the related religious bodies in the country to ensure missionary groups are free from deviant teachings.
“Whoever comes here, regardless of the form of talks, will be monitored. For Muslim missionaries, there are the State Religious Councils and those found not having credentials, will not be allowed. We will also monitor non-Muslim missionaries as well,” he said when winding up debate on the 2020 Supply Bill at Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
On the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the entry of priests, pastors and monks for Hindu temples and Granthi from Gudhwara, Muhyiddin said the Immigration Department issues visit pass (professional) for missionary category to foreigners for 12 months and can be extended up to a maximum of 36 months.

On the issuance of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards to refugees, Muhyiddin said the ministry is reviewing the process of issuing the card so that it is only issued after obtaining approval from the Immigration Department.
"Actually, those who came to the country such as Rohingyas do not have any documents at all and from the international aspect, they are known as stateless persons but upon entering Malaysia they are considered refugees by UNCHR and were issued the card,” he said.
He said Malaysia is not a member country of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol and is not subject to the responsibilities under the convention including providing employment for refugees.
However, based on its humanitarian policy, the government through the National Security Council is considering how to provide opportunities to UNHCR card holders to work and to carry out economic activities to support themselves before being sent to a third country.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said the policy of decriminalising drug abuse should be studied carefully before it can be implemented.
He said it involved a major shift in policy and drug laws apart from changes needed to comply with International Drug Convention so that they are not in conflict with Malaysia’s commitment at international level.
He said a review of the rehabilitation programme especially those involving hardcore addicts should be implemented to ensure they are effective and suitable to the current changes.
Bernama

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