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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Immigration laws put strain on marriages

I REFER to the report “Unsettled by gender-biased laws” (Sunday Star, March 14).

This article calls for a review of immigration laws as regards to the awarding of PR status for foreign husbands of Malaysian wives. It may be wishful thinking that this will be done overnight.

My foreign wife has been a resident in Malaysia for the past 21 years, and we have three children as a result of our marriage.

Her application for a PR with the Immigration Department 16 years back had been rejected with no reason given. A review of her case revealed that all criteria were met, and all guidelines were followed.

Her case was then referred to the Home Ministry, and it is still under consideration. And this is in spite of regular visits to the Home Ministry followed by regular letters of request to look into the case.

Most foreign wives who follow their husbands to Malaysia do so with the intention of staying with them for the rest of their lives.

Many of them would not be able to return to their home country once they have children.

Rightly said, our present immigration laws place a great strain on the marriages of those involved. It affects the children as well.

And so, I agree with our Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim who warned Malaysian women against marrying “Mat Salleh”. And I would also advise Malaysian men against marrying foreign wives. This advice is given because of our immigration laws.

You would need a very high level of commitment to make such marriages work.

Our immigration department has improved tremendously over the years, but the archaic immigration laws of our country need to be reviewed.

Kuala Lumpur.

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