Only immigration officers Grade KP41 and above will be allowed to issue "not to land" (NTL) notices with immediate effect, compared to the previous practice allowing KP29 officers to do so, says Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
At a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday, Saifuddin said this was part of efforts to improve the immigration department's management at the country's entry points.
He said the home ministry would also work with Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd (MAHB) to place more signs at the airport for the convenience of travellers to prepare the relevant documents for immigration purposes.
He said the ministry would also provide a help desk with immigration officers who can communicate in foreign languages to assist travellers.
"Officers who are able to communicate in languages such as Mandarin, Tamil and Arabic to assist with entry and exit matters at international airports will be deployed there immediately," he said.
Meanwhile, Saifuddin said the Cabinet meeting earlier also requested the transport ministry to look into the aspects and practices of a company appointed to manage foreign travellers issued with NTL notices.
According to him, the company appointed in February 2015 was responsible for managing the purchase of return tickets and meals for travellers who are issued the notice.
"The transport minister was asked to review this aspect of the appointment, whether it is a normal practice to do so.
"Sometimes there can be confusion when a person subject to NTL is asked to provide a certain amount of money to purchase a return ticket. This can be mistaken as an immigration officer asking for money," he said, adding that the matter should be re-examined.
Meanwhile, Saifuddin said 592,490 tourists from China had arrived in the country from January to June this year, of which 423 were issued NTL notices.