Allow International Students Entry to Malaysia
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The 19th of June there finally was hope after months of waiting; the Hon’ble Defense Minister of Malaysia shared that international students will be able to come into Malaysia to resume or start their studies starting the 1st of August, before completely blocking the entry of ‘new’ students 10 days later (29th of June.) The instructions to wait “until further notice” have been the harsh focal point for all international students for over half a year, ceaselessly waiting whilst hoping for an update which let them simply plan out their life. On 30th September 2020, after a long time of waiting, Education Malaysia Division facebook page posted that All existing students (both banned and unbanned countries) and new students(from unbanned countries) will be allowed to enter Malaysia along with the procedure of entry. This announcement made all of us happy and had hope that Malaysia will be granting entry to ALL students from both banned and unbanned countries because the government is doing it step by step. Unfortunately, 3 days later (4th October 2020), the Immigration department announced that ALL international student’s entry(new and existing) from both banned and unbanned countries is postponed until 31st December 2020. Students have now been waiting for more than half a year to enter Malaysia. International students spent months in the dark on the rules that kept changing, breaking our hopes everytime we are hopeful that we will be granted entry to Malaysia. Leaving students who want to adhere to SOPs and pay for their (increased) quarantine costs left many with mental health issues, financial losses and damaged their willingness to pursue studies in Malaysia. With the set goal of Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) to attract 250,000 international students in 2025, in line with Malaysia's aspiration to be a global education hub, we are kindly asking to allow ALL new and existing international students to come to Malaysia. With the virus not distinguishing new from existing and banned from non-banned, ALL students should be able to come to the classes they are paying for. With time zone differences and internet problems, online education is not efficient. Students are willing to pay full semester fees, wishing to get the experience we pay for. Without a doubt, the presence of international students helps the higher educational institutions and revitalizes the nation's economy. Whilst following strict protocols and focusing on fighting COVID-19 together, we are ready to finally start our journey in Malaysia.
We, as ALL international students from banned and non-banned countries, would like to share the concern on why ALL international students (New and Existing) should be granted entry to Malaysia, with the Malaysian Immigration Department, Education Ministry, EMGS and members of Parliament, making sure our voices are heard, demand transparency of information and propose to lift the travel ban on international students due to the following:
1) Students were not provided with transparency during their enrollment and planning process for months on end. When making one of the biggest decisions of their life, months of “until further notice”-messages were shared, without any details students could use to plan their finances/education. Up to this day, there is still no clear timeline for international students to work with, although already paying uncut-fees for online education and promises coming from the media and even Malaysian Immigration for weeks. Students deserve and need to be updated as they have put their trust on Malaysia and chosen the country over others.
2) With COVID-19 not differentiating between a ‘new’ or ‘current’ student, all students are forced to undergo quarantine. New and current students are willing to adhere to the imposed SOPs and pay the incurring fees, including non-Covid tests before departing. If immigration services or the education ministry does not (yet) have the means to facilitate the international students already paying their uncut fees, as students we kindly yet urgently ask for updated information in forms of dates/planning/protocols.
3) Because of the decision to let new students solely study online as a substitute, several issues related to documentation have arisen;
o Some students were already in Malaysia prior to the travel ban, had to leave the country to apply for student visas, and have been paying rent ever since they left the country due to the inability to come back.
o Students living in countries that exercise mandatory military service are required to present documents stating they are enrolled in a full-time study to circumvent getting drafted. In the current scenario, students are not able to provide local authorities with such documentation due to the inability to obtain a full-time study permit.
o Some students being hurt by the barring of new students are actually just changing universities, unfairly hit by the travel ban.
o Students whom are staying in foreign countries because of prior work/education or as an interim solution due to time zone or immigration policy in their home country, are awaiting news for months due to the absence or constant postponement of information allowing them to plan, and are therefore seriously struggling with visa obtainment, as of now some were even forced to leave the country. This will further induce financial strain, which is favorably spent in Malaysia.
o Some internationals wanting to complete their studies have their families and loved ones staying in Malaysia but had to exit the country to apply for the visa. The current ban is separating families from one another.
4) Existing International students are paying for face-to-face education, whilst having the shortcoming of online education.
o With students coming from different continents and environments, internet speeds are not always stable, making it very difficult to deliver the desired academic performance. With Malaysia’s support going to Veveonah Mosibin, we are sure you understand that online education has serious shortcomings for some. Sadly, close to no financial deductions were reported among students, now paying the same for online class, whilst not receiving the benefits of face-to-face education.
o Furthermore, online education works when in the same time zone. With international students coming from all over the world and the inability for these students to travel to Malaysia, midnight classes are not known to improve student performance. Sadly, close to no financial deductions were reported among students.
o Not all students are able to successfully study online due to practical/clinical/research learning, e.g. medical- and PhD-students. Some studies are using hybrid-forms of teaching (combination of online and on-campus), making it impossible for some students to successfully learn from the classes they are paying for and on which they shall be assessed. Malaysian academic staff is even sending signals that international students have to comply with on-campus learning. Nonetheless, reduction in semester fees has not been announced.
5) The absence of information around this travel ban has made it impossible for students to plan their lives for months; professionally, academically, socially and emotionally. With the effects of COVID-19 on mental health now widely discussed in global media because of the historic rise in mental health problems, students are showcasing mental health issues such as severe stress, insomnia, anxiety attacks, depression.
6) Understandably, current students might incur installments with regards to housing and are therefore given earlier travel access. Yet, the absence of information coming from EMGS and immigration services and current travel ban resulted into students paying uncut-semester fees whilst unable to plan for their own accommodation expenses, income coming from jobs and such. Students are in desperate need of information and progress in order to plan both their professional/academic career and accompanying expenses, both benefiting Malaysia in the shape of academic performance and foreign investment.
7) With budgets already limited due to the inability to plan, and months of waiting showing the benevolence to come to Malaysia, quarantine fees have been doubled. Unfortunately, this changed fee decision was installed in a matter of days, whilst visa obtainment or even updates for paying-students are still pending.
With all due respect, here are the things that we are requesting from the Malaysian Government.
Allow entry for ALL (new and existing) International Students from both banned and unbanned countries.
To start issuing VALS for new students.
To reduce the quarantine fees for International students. We are not working yet, so yes it is a lot for students like us who still depend on their parents for money.
We all will be tested for Covid before departure and after reaching Malaysia. We all will also be quarantined in the hotels, so there won't be any way that the virus will spreadThis petition is a proof that we have rejected other offers and chosen Malaysia as our place of study .We really want to go to Malaysia and experience its amazing culture and hospitable nature.
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