DAP calls for a "smart" and humane immigration policy which will not victimise genuine marriages between Malaysians and Chinese nationals while trying to weed out "opportunistic" and mala fide unions

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Malaysia will never achieve the  full promise of our national IT plan if the government does not change its mind-set and give topmost priority to human talents and resources.

Yesterday, I issued a statement about the  heart-rending email which I had received from a Malaysian IT consultant married to a wife who is a Chinese national, who is so frustrated by the discriminatory and inhumane immigration policy in the country that he has decided to migrate to the United States.

This Malaysian IT consultant said he did not want to migrate to the United States and would want very much to stay in Malaysia, but the unfair and discriminatory immigration policy is driving him to migrate as his  Chinese national wife is only  allowed to stay and visit him two weeks per year.  This has made life most unbearable for him as he had to  spend a lot of money and time travelling to visit his wife.  Their marriage had been registered two years ago.

There has been no response from the Malaysian Government  which exudes indifference  that its immigration policy is driving Malaysian IT talents from the country although it is telling the world that it wants to promote the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) as the international IT hub and  attract the best IT talents from all over the world to come to Malaysia.

I have however received an immediate email response from a scout for IT talents in Australia and who wanted  to arrange for this Malaysian IT consultant to emigrate to Australia. This is the email I received:

I hope this prompt email from Australia to try to grap this Malaysian IT consultant to serve the IT industry "Down Under" will open the eyes of the bureacrats, not only in the Immigration Department and the Home Ministry, but the entire government of the need for a total  mindset change if they are not to be the obstacles to Malaysia’s plan to make the quantum leap into the information society.

How long will it take before the Immigration Department and the Home Ministry respond to the plea of this Malaysian IT consultant, not only about his own plight, but all other Malaysians who have married Chinese nationals.

The Immigrant Department and the Home Ministry should realise that in the IT era, response is expected not in a matter of weeks and months or even days, but instantly.

When will the  Home Ministry act to  end the sufferings of Malaysians with  wives who are Chinese nationals  by stopping its inhumane discrimination against them and putting them on par with spouses from other countries - so that we can retain this Malaysian IT consultant as well as other Malaysian talents  to contribute towards making Malaysia a IT powerhouse able to compete with the rest of the world.

If the government wants to succeed in propelling Malaysia into the very forefront of the information society and make a success of the MSC, then it is not enough to have "smart schols’ and "smart" IT plans - it is also important to have a "smart immigration policy" which will not victimise bona fide marriages between Malaysians and Chinese nationals while trying to sieve out "opportunistic" and "mala fide" unions.

Wednesday, March 8,  is International Women’s Day. Lets hope that the Immigration Department and the Home Ministry are  nimble and "smart" enough to give a satisfactory response to this issue to demonstrate their regard and respect for gender equality and dignity in the new millennium.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman