Family separation during Covid-19 – Allow foreign spouses to return

Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG) applauds the Malaysian authorities and all front liners for measures and efforts taken during the Movement Control Order (MCO) in curbing the number of Covid-19 cases.

In view of a prolonged and unspecified period of the Movement Control Order (MCO), we urge the Immigration Department of Malaysia to adopt short-term measures in keeping the families of Malaysians together during these unpresented times. 

Currently, as only spouses with a Long-Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) are allowed to enter Malaysia during the MCO, this has led to family separation in cases where spouses hold a short-term pass, student pass or work permits instead. 

Sarah, a Malaysian woman who is a medical doctor in Johor Bahru (JB) is pregnant while her foreign husband is in Singapore as he works there. She moved to JB so that she could meet her husband frequently, however, Sarah is now going through her pregnancy alone neither with the support of her husband (as he holds a short-term visa) nor her family’s. 

Amelia (a Malaysian woman) is living in Malaysia while her foreign husband and Malaysian child who travelled to Taiwan pre-MCO are stuck there. Amelia and her husband are medical professionals; he holds a professional visa and has lived in Malaysia since their marriage.

In some cases, it leads to situations where Malaysians are choosing to remain in high-risk countries because they cannot return to Malaysia as a family.

Another Malaysian woman who is currently living in Singapore with her non-Malaysian husband and new-born child will be unable to return to Malaysia as a family as her husband does not hold an LTSVP. Besides, having delivered her child overseas (due to the sudden clampdown of borders) her child may not be guaranteed Malaysian citizenship, given that Malaysian women have to undergo a long drawn application process to obtain Malaysian citizenship for their children born overseas.  

FSSG requests the Immigration Department to consider allowing spouses and children/ dependents of Malaysians/Permanent Residents, irrespective of the visas they hold, to unite with their families here in Malaysia, while providing valid evidence of the relationship and fulfilling the requirement of 14-days mandatory quarantine. 

Given that we are in the fasting month of Ramadan, we do hope that families would not have to face the additional uncertainties around bureaucratic hurdles and anxiety of being separated during this pandemic and ask that due consideration be made by the respective authorities in the best interest of the family. 

Comments are closed.