What about permanent residence for foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens?


It is heartening to note that the Government is making it easier for Professionals to get PR in Malaysia, I am even told that International Students excelling in their studies will be able to get PR in Malaysia.

I would like to ask our leaders, what about SPOUSES OF MALAYSIAN CITIZENS?

We are in the country for decades on “Long Term Social Visit Pass” our visas state

“Any form of employment is strictly prohibited, spouse of a Malaysian Citizen”

We are not here for social purposes, but here in the capacity of “Principal Care Givers and Providers for our Malaysian Families”

Spouses of Malaysian citizens face a whole range of challenges with regard to our application and renewals of the “social visit pass” and application for permenant residency, leave alone citizenship.

Apart from the frequent renewal of visas for non-citizen spouses for decades, we need to have our Malaysian spouses physically present even for renewals. This puts pressure on our families, especially if the sponsoring Malaysian spouse is ill or is away on business.

Adding insult to injury, the women spouses are required to furnish immigration a letter from our spouses granting us permission to work!!!

Then again, a spouse who is estranged from the Malaysia or whose spouse has passed on, cannot get an endorsement to work for want of this letter!!! What then becomes of their Malaysian children who are dependent on them?? Who will provide for them?

Currently spouses like myself have to pay double charges for healthcare in Government Hospitals, unemployed spouses cannot open individual bank accounts, we pay tourist rates at tourist attractions, though we are residents in Malaysia. What more if we wish to study further, we pay international student rates!! All this despite being a part of the Malaysian family.

Take for instance myself, a mother of two, living in Malaysia for 18 years, yet I am on a one years pass. Though I am told that my Permenant Resident status is approved, I’m given to understand that there is a long queue awaiting the processing of the letter.

Many of the foreign spouses were very excited when they read in the media that the Home Ministry had expedited the approvals, however upon checking with the immigration, we could not get a confirmation as to when the letter would be sent out to us, alas more than six months and our letter boxes remain empty.

The Government should take into consideration that non-citizen spouses are the key care givers and providers to their Malaysian families and therefore expedite the Permanent Residency for Spouses within reasonable time-limits. Many of us are given a run around, even to secure a mere application form for submission of PR. There seems to be a gender discrimination for non-citizen husbands who are required to have 10 years continued stay, in comparison to non-citizen women spouses who are required to remain in the country for 5 years to be eligible to apply for PR.

There seems to be a lack of clear guidelines and protocols for approvals, often we are at the mercy of the attending immigration officers and their interpretation of the law and policy, which differs from Putra Jaya to Pusat Damansara!!

Whilst on paper the requirement is 5/10 years stay, in practice the approval process seems to be taking decades from the time of application to receiving the RED IC!!! The colossal documentation ranges from submitting copies of all passports (old and new) for the entire family, to wedding invitations, etc etc… .

When applications are rejected it would augur well for the applicant to be given reasons for rejection, this would enable a clear and transparent appeal towards the resubmission of the documents, where necessary. It would be a good practice to ensure that clear policies, time frames and protocols are not only set out but also implemented and delivered by respective departments.

It is also apparent that the processing for permanent residency ceases when the non-citizen spouses are estranged or widowed, what then becomes of their Malaysian children & other dependents, it really puts tremendous stress and pressure on the family unit.

In recent times, we have seen some positive steps being taken in certain areas, such as permitting Malaysian women overseas to register their children at the Malaysian high commission. However there is still scope for review in areas pertaining to the policy at immigration department.

In the interest of many Malaysian families, it is expedient that not only procedures with regard to citizenship should be reviewed but it is also incumbent that guidelines and policy are clearly elucidated and implemented for the Permenant Residency of Spouses of Malaysian citizens,

  1. #1 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 7:17 pm

    I suggest the PR should come up with ways to grant PR to to foreign spouses of Malaysians based on universal rules rather than the sex discrimination practised by the Home Ministry.

    It seems that it is more difficult for a man married to a Malaysian woman to get PR status.

    We need to have rules that are easy to apply rather than the obscure rulings/procedures that can result in people being married to Malaysians for many years with uncertainty about their residence rights.
    I suggest the following:
    1. PR granted to all foreigners after 3 years of marriage.
    2.PR granted to children of all ages of such marriages.
    3.Only reason for denying PR is a conviction in a court for any crime punishable by 2 years jail of fine of RM10,000.
    I think the current PR rules are based heavily on Ketuanan principle

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 8:38 pm

    ///I think the current PR rules are based heavily on Ketuanan principle/// – by HJ Angus in #1 Good suggestions but frankly what that concerns government’s policy is otherwise not based heavily on Ketuanan principle?

    This kind of issue of foreign spouses and their problems involves rightness or wrongness of (1) policy and (2) implementation.

    (1) At policy level, they will change for the better only if foreign spouses as a group are significantly large to impact on votes as they affect their position. [Did giving liberally Mykads to Filipino immigrants in Sabah in exchange for votes, if reports were true, pose any problem?] Otherwise than political benefit, policy makers are unlikely to be moved by other humanitarian considerations of foreign spouses being “key care givers and providers to their Malaysian families” and the fate of their offsprings! The party that should best take up the issue would be the various women NGOs that should leverage on their delivery of women votes to fight first for position of foreign wives and their children. If you talking of taking into consideration what is equitable and fair, would we be discussing the many issues in this blog, many of them recurrent or recycled over the same common themes of lack of justice and fairness?

    (2) At implementation level (even if, assuming, some rucks in policy were straightened), we’re dealing with the bureaucracy, especially one that is dominated by one race and doubly especially one like Immigration (or even land offices), vested inordinately large discretionary powers based on their belief that they are law unto themselves on matters like PR & citizenship, viewed as a privilege not a right in relation to the applicant!

    It was not like previous to 40 years ago where at least the Civil Service/bureaucracy mirrored multiracial,religious,cultural representation. Then – because of the work milieu and presence of various races working together- the likelihood was less of an officer taking a xenophobic approach in the exercise of bureaucratic discretion. A multiracial & cultural working environment tended to moderate, by check and balance, extremist views. Today if (hypothetically) an officer (wrongly) looks at extraneous considerations of religion, race or creed as relevant factors to expedite PR approvals for Indonesian, Acehnese, Palestinian, Bosnian, Thai and Philippine Muslims wives (filling up all quota) and hence give others a “run around”, who amongst his colleaques having shared outlook is going to tell him he is wrong much less take him to task??? As if the above problems are not enough, there is also another problem of corruption in which certain areas within bureaucracy are considered private fiefdoms to make things difficult for purposes of making money – that even the political bosses cannot intercede.

    We sympathise/empathise foreign wive’s predicament but what could we do? The problems of foreign spouses like other problems much faced by rest of us in other areas of national life (including business, education etc) stem from progressive deterioration of governance over 50 years due to institutionalised policies of race/religion. It cannot be that easily fixed. Even the PM could not broach on the subject when his NEM was rejected resoundingly in the Bumiputra Economic Congress.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 9:16 pm

    I have a friend who is married for past 40 years and have three children..yet the mother cannot get Malaysian citizenship based on the fact that she was brought and adopted by Malaysians from China at the age of 8 months old.
    You should see the many red tapes a person need to go through.
    One Dept. say yes..another say no.
    She has to travel abroad every year to renew her one year visa.
    I repeat 8 months old…and now at age 65….spending more than 5o years in Malaysia..is still a foreigner.
    Children have grown u and decided to migrate to Singapore where she lives peacefully.
    That is one way..how w lost so many Malaysians….migrating elsewhere….out of no choice.
    But if one is an Arab or an Indonesia…it is a different story.

  4. #4 by son of perpaduan on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 9:17 pm

    Well, why government never engage pollster Merdeka Centre to do a survey on this ?

    Another racist policy to reduce the number on other races. Sorry for the malaysian Chinese who married foreigner.

  5. #5 by limkamput on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 9:27 pm

    How about if i tell you father Indo Pr, mother also indo Pr, but children citizens of Malaysia. How does this come about? Why so easy for Indo to become Pr and children become citizens. May I know under what rules?

    Do we have non Malays working in home affairs citizenship department? If you find one, please let me know, i shall give you RM100 each for every non Malay officers there.

  6. #6 by limkamput on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 9:34 pm

    Sh!tty MCA’s Donald Duck Lim now wants to talk so big about having Chinese Perkasa. You half baked politician should hide your head in the sand. Under your watch, you can not do one thing right and yet want to talk so much. If MCA has any dignity left, they should have dissolved and joined PR a long time ago. Treacherous MCA!

  7. #7 by limkamput on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 9:43 pm

    Najib killing Samy softly with his song, but what is the point. All the problems in MIC, MCA and Gerakan are the creation of UMNO working through hapless non Malay leadership in these parties. You think by getting rid of Samy, MIC is going to get the support of Indian community? Dream on, Jib, dream on.

  8. #8 by raven77 on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 9:50 pm

    Please lah…if you are Paki, Bangla, Saudi, Iraqi, Iranian, INdon Muslim, Filipino Muslim….even Thai Muslim…boleh lah dapat PR….otherwise please suffer in silence or cari another spouse…

  9. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 10 July 2010 - 10:24 pm

    The policy followed is not based on the advantages the nation may gain in assessing the person as a PR but just on his or her belief! This is the myopic policy based on pure political agenda. If only one community wants to run the nation without giving any voice to others, surely you can’t blame those deprived of any voice to do any to preserve their interests. This is only natural. hence, there is this guy who told the Gomen servant, I asked for a license because I wanted to do legitimate business, so you think I can’t do any if after so many applications you still rejected me without any reaon, I would make more by smuggling!!!??? maybe, the Gomen should ask itself, if there is no participation then I shouldn’t contribute to nation building. Would that logic be acceptable?

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 11 July 2010 - 10:46 am

    1. Pemudah is not interested in this issue. So it is in very, very slow track.

    They are only interested in smoothing the way for the illegal immigrants from Indonesia, Philippines, Bangla, Myanmar etc. We urgently need them.

    2. Your MP is still hale and hearty. Wait for another buy-election and maybe, just maybe, the Minister might give out a few freebies. Then pray that you are on the list.

    3. Consider brown or green envelopes if you are very, very desperate.

    4. Consider changing religion and all your problems might be solved pronto.

    5. Your application is in the ‘final’ stage of approval, since 1985, so wait for it. Its coming soon, very soon, so don’t ‘rush’ them. Else they might get high blood pressure.

    6. The Minister, his two or three Deputies, the SG, the civil servants etc etc are very busy with lots of politicking to do, meetings to attend, arranging pestas etc daily. Give them a break la. They need yet another tea break.

    7. What is a waiting period of 18 years? Remember the Chinese woman who waited 50 years in Hulu Selangor who gave Hishamuddin a hug for finally approving her citizenship? And that Indian fellow who was granted citizenship two weeks after he died?

    8. Your application does not fall under “People First, Performance Now” category. Tough.

    9. Your file has been ‘misplaced’. They don’t know anything about it. Start all over again.

    This time apply from Sabah or Sarawak. They have very ‘helpful’ people there who can speed things up for you (wink, wink).

    “Berkhidmat Untuk Negara”.

  11. #11 by johnnypok on Sunday, 11 July 2010 - 12:39 pm

    My wife has been living in Sarawak under the 3 months “Social Visit Pass” for the past 23 years since 1987.
    She is a Malaysian of Sabah origin, and I am a Sarawakian.
    She is still “patiently” waiting for the approval for Permanent Status … maybe she will only get it after she die … she is already 56 years old!

  12. #12 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 11 July 2010 - 12:50 pm

    You must understand that since independence, the main obsession and first principle of cardinal/overarching importance of Malay nationlists is political and all other forms of dominance, the key benchmark of which is numbers and ratios of Malays to non-Malays whether in population (one of the reasons why S’pore must leave) the numbers of ‘A’s scored & JPA scholarships, corporate equity (as can be seen how even the PM has to reinstate it in NEM/10th malaysia Plan), professional & high-level positions in civil service and security services , GLCs, licences etc.

    Now why would anyone expect that the ratio of people admitted as permanent residents and citizens be excluded from this common, general and sancrosanct criteria of dominance applicable to all other areas measured by numbers/ratios?

    When has other criteria like humanitarian concerns eg “key care givers and providers to their Malaysian families” been of greater importance or for that matter even qualifications of applicants for PR/citizenship and their socio-economic contribution to the country by virtue of these qualifications?

    If qualifications and contributions to country have been of importance the race specific NEP would not have been perpetuated for half a century even if it represents the main factor behind our compromising of educational standards and our brain drain.

  13. #13 by monsterball on Sunday, 11 July 2010 - 5:45 pm

    My friend spent so many thousands with false promises made .
    One said..if wife stay put in Malaysia for 3 years…no traveling abroad…all will be OK.
    After 3 years…one say yes…and another Dept say no..same story again ad again.
    My friend needs to travel all over the world in his important work. My friend owns millions RM properties all over Malaysia…children all grew up..all with Degrees …doctor…engineer …finance double degrees..yet mother cannot get Malaysian citizenship.
    Yes three smart Malaysian Chinese migrated to Singapore where the government welcome all with open arms….where my friend need to buy a multi million dollar house…and that’s it…all are given citizenship…where the best brains are wanted everywhere…except in Malaysia…especially if you are a Malaysian Chinese….further you go the better…..seems to be UMNO B’s wishes.

  14. #14 by dagen on Monday, 12 July 2010 - 9:06 am

    Our frustrated mother above would have to wait for some events that are politically advantageous to umno to happen before her PR is issued like by election or something. And that poor mother would certainly be briefed by umno people on the need to hug that guy with permanent joker’s grin. You see the event will take place in the presence of pressmen.

    Yeah sick isnt it monsterball. Just plain sick. And wot is worse. They are not bothered. “Leave. Pls leave. Leave for all we care” – going by their attitude we can only observe that they are in fact saying so in response. Lost of talents and brains. Nah. Umnoputras are better. The rest can go. They can find replacement easily. Look around us. Look at the large, no very very large, number of bumiputras-to-be about. If Pakatan does not bring down the umno gobermen in GE13 (which incidentally I believe is an achievable objective) I would surely work towards moving my young kids and wife out of the country. Sick. And sad. And it would make umno and perkasa happy.

  15. #15 by on cheng on Tuesday, 13 July 2010 - 5:08 pm

    BN Requirement for foreign spouses to get PR,
    a) Must support UMNO, BN, NEP, ketuanan
    b). Must undertake to vote for BN forever if given citizenship, include votes from all children
    c). Must be Muslim
    d) Must speak Malay
    e). Must be anti non Muslim
    f). Must hate Pakatan Rak.

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