Media Statement
by DAPSY Acting National Secretary, Loke Siew Fook
on Tuesday, September 24, 2002
in Petaling Jaya

New visa requirements to Canada: Wisma Putra must seek explanation from Ottawa

The Canadian government has just imposed new visa requirements on Malaysians and effective 25th September, all Malaysians traveling to Canada are required to apply a “temporary resident visa”. 

According to Canadian Immigration Minister Denis Coderre, the decision to lift the visa exemption for Malaysian citizens was made because the “Malaysian passport and passport issuing system are vulnerable to abuse”. 

As the members of the Commonwealth countries, citizens of both countries were exempted from visa requirements to enter each other’s country previously. 

The Canadian government cited security factors of the Malaysian passports and passport issuing system, but they had never raised this issue before September 11 though the new Malaysian passports were introduced in March 1998. 

This development has again strengthen the notion in the West that Malaysia is vulnerable and not a safe place and this will definitely affected the image of Malaysia among the foreign investors and tourists. 

Although visa rulings is the prerogative of the government, the move by the Canadian government is very unfair as it is a discriminatory move against Muslims in general and Malaysia being a Muslims majority country in particular following the footsteps of the United States. 

I urge the Immigration department to immediately explain the allegations of the Canadian government that our passports and passports issuing system are vulnerable to abuse and to reexamine the security features of the passport, as it is a very serious matter involving issues of national security. 

Wima Putra must also act fast and immediately censure the Canadian High Commissioner to Malaysia to voice our strongest protest to the Canadian move and seek a formal explanation from Ottawa.