The Malaysian Immigration Department may bar overseas Malaysian students involved in anti-government activities from returning home, according to a report by Berita Harian on May 27.
Overseas Malaysians, particularly the students, have protested through social media sites and street gatherings post GE-13. On the same day as the 50, 000 Malaysians gathered in an opposition rally in Kelana Jaya, Melbourne-based Malaysian gathered for a silent demonstration in front of the State Library.
Many of these overseas students have reacted with shock or anger over the announcement.
“I feel that the government which represents my country Malaysia has decided to disown its own citizens,” says David (not real name), a Malaysian, who like many others do not want to give his real name in fear of the recent move to barring Malaysians from home.
He adds that such action has made the country a police state as opposed to a peaceful home. David also felt that the action shows an increasing intolerance by the government towards opposing views.
“It has increasingly been sending out indirect messages that Malaysia is no longer determined to keep its people happy,” he says.
Alice (not real name) and Susan (not real name) reflect similar sentiments.
“If I were to participate in gathering overseas and banned from entering Malaysia, I will get very upset towards my own government,” Alice says.
Alice also states that as a democratic country, the government should be open to both positive and negative comments.
“Malaysian government should be open enough to take its peoples’ voices and opinions into consideration, to help improve their governance in the country,” she says.
Similarly, Susan says that it is unfair because everyone deserves the right to voice their thoughts.
These students also share their opinion on how negative responses should be handled.
David says that an international committee should be set up to understand the demands and hopes of overseas Malaysians.
“Labelling each overseas (Malaysian) ignorantly, it’s bad publicity for Malaysia,” he says.
Susan says that criticisms should be taken in an open manner.
“Acknowledge what the people have to say in how the country is shaped, instead of scaring people with such intimidation,” she says.