Minister defends immigration officer’s query on language proficiency

Minister defends immigration officer’s query on language proficiency

Minister defends immigration officer’s query on language proficiency
Saifuddin Nasution Ismail says the immigration officer at Johor UTC might have acted out of suspicion as there have been cases of forgery of documents. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has defended an immigration officer who questioned a person’s lack of proficiency in the Malay language when renewing a passport at the Johor UTC.

At a press conference after his ministry’s monthly assembly here today, Saifuddin said the officer might have acted out of suspicion.

He gave an example of suspicion arising from an applicant’s lack of facial resemblance with their parents, which led to an investigation that uncovered document forgery in obtaining an identity card some time ago.


“Previously, when the home ministry conducted citizenship studies, we found that language proficiency was also a requirement for citizenship in several of the world’s most advanced countries, such as Singapore and the UK. If you cannot understand the local language, you are not eligible,” he said.

He was asked to comment on a viral social media post where a woman claimed mistreatment by an immigration officer at the Johor UTC for her inability to speak Malay when renewing her daughter’s passport.

Saifuddin also said mastering Malay is non-negotiable as it is the official language as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.

“We cannot compromise on that. Hence, it is necessary to understand the (Malay) language to avoid problems,” he said.

On a separate matter, he urged the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to periodically examine the activities and financial status of organisations.

The call came after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission froze dozens of bank accounts linked to Aman Palestin amid an investigation into the possible misappropriation of RM70 million raised through public donations.

“There are 70,000 to 80,000 organisations registered under RoS. From time to time, they can conduct random periodic checks,” he said.

Minister defends immigration officer’s query on language proficiency



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