Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Foreign spouses should get PR status on registration of marriage

Foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens should be accorded permanent residency status on the date of the registration of the marriage.

It is absurd now, that even for a PR status, many have to wait for at least 5 years or more..

Now, in our Asian culture, marriage is not just between the 2 spouses - but is a union of 2 families. With marriage also comes obligations to the parents and dependants of your spouse.

Now, what happens if the Malaysian spouse suddenly dies - the present system would mean that the foreign spouse, without the PR, will have no choice but to leave the family matrimonial home, abandon the parents and dependents of the other spouse....and leave.

And if there are children of the marriage, who will be Malaysian, ...now the foreign spouse will have to either leave the children behind....or take the Malaysian children with him/her separating them from grandparents and other family members. Remember most persons are not that rich to be able to have regular trips back to Malaysia to keep the ties going...Consider really the effect on the children - the change of living atmosphere, language & culture, friends, etc..

As such, there really must be an immediate review of current policy and practice - the foreign spouse, on the registration of the marriage in Malaysia, should immediately be accorded with Permanent Residency status. [Note that this PR status can be revoked if there is discovered that there was fraud, or some other reason to do that later on ...]

While so many foreign spouses and their partners, families and children have been been going through this trauma of 'what will happen to us if the Malaysian spouse dies suddenly?", I was rather shocked at how the government had been handing out citizenships as a bribe (or shall I say 'incentive') to get Malaysian doctors to come back and serve in Malaysia, and maybe even other persons which we may not know of - this is so DISCRIMINATORY. Citizenships - not just PR status.
MMA president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said ...."There are already incentives for doctors who want to return from overseas and work in Malaysia. They include tax exemption on personal items, exemption of import and excise duties for two cars, and citizenship for spouses and children within six months of their return." - New Straits Times, 29/7/2008 - Doctors against ministry's proposal


aavaz said...

For 16 years I've fought this fight, for 16 years immigration department is my second home.

Seriously I have exhausted all means, perhaps you can give me some fresh ideas on how change can be sought.

I have sent this letter to almost all women NGO's( they are grossly understaffed and tend to handle urgent cases) , Bar Council (no response), MP's (several questions asked in Parliament-mumbo jumbo replies were given). Mr Lim Kit Siang was initiating some sort of debate, however that day I think, the opposition walked out.

Home Minister about 2 months ago said that the matter will be looked into - when, I wonder? so now thats what we foreign spouses of Malaysian are : AN IGNORED SEGEMENT OF MALAYSIAN SOCIETY.
Ordeal of a Foreign Spouse – the reality of life in Malaysia - My story

Several letters have been published in the press, but we're a forgotten segment of Malaysian society. I am a foreign spouse of a Malaysian Citizen and 16 years down the line, I feel that I am accorded worse treatment than an illegal, at least illegals after a while, do get amnesty, not spouses.

There are many of us here, for 12-20 years still on a dependent pass or an employment pass and are waiting for waiting for years and even decades not for citizenship, for a mere Permanent Resident Status.

Foreign spouses find life in Malaysia really difficult because the law if any, is so grey that it varies in interpretation from immigration officer to officer.

Many of us even have to resort to merely doing volunteer service, though it is a necessity to be an income earner. Some of us lucky ones manage to get an employment pass on the spouse visa, however not many employers are prepared to employ a foreign spouse due to the tedious paperwork. Yes ofcourse only employers with a paid up capital of over RM200K can employ us. Many even exploit us and pay some measly sum as token salary. When we wish to change jobs, there is a cooling off period between employers to cool our heels for six months.

Life in Malaysia is near traumatic for us and here's more..

This is not Ripley's Believe it or Not, but it is faster to get an employment pass for a domestic maid, than for a foreign spouse, similar is the case for extension of the visa, long waits that stretch from hours to days yes we are the spouses of Malaysian Citizens.

By the way, it may be that it is also easier and less procedural for expatriates to get an employment pass than spouses of Malaysian citizens.

We have to pay double charges in Government hospitals even when we are delivering Malaysian citizens. We have to pay fees of foreigners to study in Public University. Even a visit to KLCC Aquarium and we pay tourist rates, while the rest of our family pay differently even though we are more Malaysian than most Malaysians!!

We have to carry our passports wherever we go, however students, workers and not mistakenly even domestic maids get an I card. A housewife cannot even open an account in some of the Banks, we cannot deposit money through the ATM because our bank account is called an external account – such is the treatment for spouses of Malaysian Citizens

Oh wait, we forgot to mention the yearly visits to the Immigration – infact it is a joke of sorts amongst spouses, that the "Immigration Department is our Second Home!!"Long waits, irrespective of infants in our hands, some have to travel from various states to Putra Jaya just to get a spouse visa.

By the way we have to be accompanied by our spouses to the Immigration department when the submission is being done, this process can take up to 6-7 hours, more often for submission and approval it takes several visits, never mind that the spouse has just given a declaration that we are still married in front of the commission of oaths.

Why is this section of people so neglected? We take care of our Malaysian families, the future Malaysian generation, yet we are a forgotten segment of Malaysian society.

Husbands of Malaysian women have it even worse, so also we understand that Chinese spouses are not even allowed to apply for PR status. Many Malaysian with foreign spouses have left the country in sheer frustration. Many of us are highly educated and are professionals, and we cannot even get jobs here, so why would we undergo so much hardship for so many years? Only for our families. Stop treating us like criminals.

The Home Minister is the only approving authority for PR, and only few approvals are given per month, is this a fair deal where there are a few thousands still waiting, something is very wrong in the system then. We also know that priority is given for those applying for the more lucrative "Malaysia my Second Home." So now it boils down to the fact that "only money talks" If in Sabah and Sarawak foreigners have easily been given I-cards, why can't this be done for foreign spouses?

In this is a global environment, where travel is so much easier and national boundaries are getting more seamless. The Home Ministry and Immigration should look into its policies and engage itself with more modern policies and practises that reflect good governance. It is only appropriate that spouses of Malaysians should be given fair status and have rational rules and regulations.

The writer has not touched on what happens in cases where there is separation or divorce involved? Do the children have to relocate to the non-Malaysian parent's home country because the parent's visa in Malaysia will not get extended?

What needs immediate attention is the immigration law itself for spouses of citizens. Today in countries such as UK, USA, Australia and nearer home in Singapore, no more than 2 years of living together is required to secure PR status - marriage is not even a necessity in these countries.

Whilst I do appreciate my application is speeded up, I am seeking for review and reform of the law, its governance both at Federal and State level, and that of policy and procedures within the various immigration departments particularly for foreign spouses.

This will also be beneficial to the nation as many spouses are highly qualified and are seeking the employment market. Some have even indicated that they are willing to return should it be easier to gain employment.

This is not a work of fiction but the reality of life faced by Spouses of Malaysian Citizens.

MYblog said...

They are just not bothered about ordinary citizens. Foreign labourers are getting PR and citizenship so easily through bribe and cladestine government policies while we have to wait 5 years just to apply and then another 5 years to get a PR, dont even talk about citizenship.

Pathetic, in this instance we are the worst and have no humanitarian values.

Unknown said...

This corrupted BN government has got no conscience;thats why such unhealthy practices going on for decades.Wait till the new government takes over,perhaps the constitution can be modified;meanwhile keep your fingers crossed!

Anonymous said...

I share your sentiments. I am married to a foreigner and I am facing this problem. Anyone would like to see what is the effect of this, just go to Shah Alam immigration early in the morning (6.30am) and see people lining up waiting for the office to open. You can see couples holding babies (as young as a few months old, just to prove that they are married with a child) as well! A very sad sight but its a yearly routine for a lot of us. Each time, I would like to take photos of people in line and send it to the media, but I really doubt it would help at all!

Cruzeiro said...

Dear Aavaz,
In Bolehsia Al Mamak Kutty, we do things based on "meritocracy" and "kulification".
The problem appears to be that you're ignorant of the Bolehsian definition of "merit" and "kulit".
That in itself disqualifies you as a human being - forget about PR or citizenship.
These things are given out based on "Merit" of the "pendatang".

Firstly you gotta be "muslim", uneducated and of the labour class, so that 'some people' can think of themselves as "tuans" - ask Mr.Kutty. He'll tell you why!
Or else, you must have really strong cables that can be shoved up where the sun don't shine.

Secondly, you must be willing to STFU & vote for pirates for the rest of your life. You must be able to act stupid and Kowtow the imbeciles who are your Tuans.
Your 'axe' must be available should they decide to SodoMee you, or charge anyone for it.

Thirdly, you must be able to refer to rule no 1, each time you forget ...

This is SodoMeeland al Mamak Kutty ...... Liwat Lah Bolehsia!

Anonymous said...

I have been living in Malaysia for the past 14 years and I know how it feels to be an outsider. If any Malaysian work at my country, he/she is entitled to benefits. I'm so disappointed with the government here in Malaysia, that they only think for themselves. Friends from foreign countries ask me is it good to live in Malaysia? Well, I only have one answer. This country sucks.

Anonymous said...

Alas , I came across blog describing the hell I underwent too ! Bravo !!

I am a Malaysian citizen and my husband is a foreign national. We underwent lots of annoying situations. First when I called the marriage registrar in Malaysia , they advised me that we can register in Malaysia and get the cert. So much misleading , after we got married abroad and returned to Malaysia for registration , they rejected and said go Putrajaya , get the commissioner of oaths to certify the foreign cert ...etc... It took us ONE month to get the things done and poor thing , my husband had to travel from US just for 3 days to sign on our marriage cert.

Not only that , despite owning a home in Malaysia , he is not given a multiple entry visa to Malaysia. How can ever a government do such things to a highly skilled migrant with legal status ? He dont want Malaysian citizenship but at least Malaysian government should be able to allocate such qualified people to visit our family members. When US and UK is able to provide spouse visa , I still dont understand the complications we face in Malaysia.

To purchase a home in Malaysia , my husband dialed the Maybank number 40 times ( believe it not , how frustrating it is despite the time difference ) to get hold of our loan officer. Do human beings work or not I dont know. It is so backdated and annoys to even return back to Malaysia and work.

Now I understand why many Malaysians left the country ! For namesake it is called "Muhibbah" country but we dont get properly paid jobs. So much of favouritism and racism based on religion. When will we be able to get EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ???

Its sad to know my own country do this , but its better to be spoken out before the next generation forget what is Malaysia.

We are totally sick and tired of "malaysian mentality and attitude" , a country cannot prosper and develop towards betterment if there is no Equal treatment !