The Immigration Department could not be blamed for issuing work passes to foreign guest relation officers (GROs) who come to the state under the pretext of being singers or musicians.
State Immigration Department director Datu Robert Lian pointed out that the department only issues work passes to foreign entertainers with the approval of the Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation. The department therefore could not be blamed for the abuse of the passes by foreigners.
“Our department only issues work passes to singers or musicians after the Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation committee confirms they are coming to the state to work as entertainers.
“As for us, we will not be able to know whether they are really singers or musicians. Our job is just to issue the permit (work pass) but there is a committee to check whether they are genuine singers or not,” he said. Lian was commenting on claims by an enforcement agency that many foreigners issued work passes to singers who actually worked as GROs in pubs, night clubs, karaoke outlets and other entertainment joints.
“So far, we have not received any report on singers and musicians abusing their work passes. Therefore, we could not establish whether such claims were true or not,” he added. Lian said the issue could have come about following some misunderstanding.
“What we believe is when they were checked by police, the foreign women produced their valid social visit passes but forgot that there is a difference between social visit passes and work passes.
“Both are visit passes but those issued social visit passes are not allowed to work here whereas those with work passes can, based on the job described in the pass,” he explained. Lian was speaking to reporters after the launch of the Malaysian Passport Renewal Kiosk (Kippas) on the ground floor of Bangunan Sultan Iskandar at Simpang Tiga by Sarawak federal secretary Md Yahaya Basimin yesterday.
October 2, 2010, Saturday Borneo Post