High number of Chinese, Indian tourists overstaying

Immigration Department says 18,341 tourists from China have not left the country. (Bernama pic)

BUKIT KAYU HITAM: The home ministry is concerned over the high number of tourists from China and India who have overstayed in the country, as stated in the 2018 Auditor-General’s Report Series 2, yesterday.

The audit report had said there was no record of exit dates for more than 95% of Chinese and Indian tourists who visited the country between 2016 and 2018.

Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said he had referred the matter to the Immigration Department for investigation.

“When tourists do not go back and overstay, the immigration will want to know where they are.

“Immigration enforcement action will be taken against them,” he told reporters after the official handing-over ceremony for the Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security Complex to the ministry here today.

According to the audit report, during the 2016-2018 period, out of 79,799 Chinese tourist arrivals, there was no record of 76,258 of them leaving the country.

However, immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said these figures were inaccurate as the actual number of Chinese tourists who had not left was 18,341.

He attributed this to tourists using the Electronic Travel Registration & Information (eNTRI) system, a visa-free facility for visitors from China and India.

He said when these tourists leave the country using the normal system, or the regular social visit pass, problems arise in tracking their exits.

“This is why there is a difference in the figures,” he said at the same event.

Khairul said they would meet the National Audit Department to update the figures.

Work on the RM385 million Bukit Kayu Hitam ICQS complex began on June 14, 2014. It was completed on June 25 and became fully operational in August.

The complex is equipped with an anti-climb-type security fence and has about 300 high-definition closed-circuit cameras. Cargo scanners installed along the heavy-vehicle lanes ensure thorough inspection of all goods entering the country.