Nepal closes Malaysian visa-issuing company in embassy
The recent closure of the company operating from the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu by the Nepali government has opened a can of worms long- hidden from public knowledge. Malaysia VLN Nepal had been appointed by the Malaysian Home Ministry to execute the issuance of visas and had been operating for the past two years.
On Friday, (Jan 2), Malaysia VLN Nepal was asked to close down. A high-level Nepalese Parliamentary Committee on International Relations and Labour directed the Office of the Company Registrar to scrap the operating licence for Malaysia VLN Nepal. The reason was that this company did not have permission from Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Science,Technology and Environment to engage in the business of processing documents of Nepalis seeking Malaysian visas.
The company was also found to have had “shady deals”. It charged and collected Rs 3200 (RM 130) per visa but issued receipts for only Rs. 700 (RM 23). Malaysia VLN Nepal was the only company favoured by the Malaysian Home Ministry to execute the issuance of visas for almost two years.
Since the company was charging an exorbitant amount, the Nepali Parliamentary Committee has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to retrieve the extra amount collected by the company from Malaysian visa seekers, reported the Himalayan News Service in Kathmandu.
Considering the fact that around 800 Nepalis leave for Malaysia for employment purposes every day, the visa-processing company thus generates an extra Rs 2.44 million for the embassy per day or over Rs 70 million per month. In the last year, ending July 2013, a total of 636,120 Nepali workers reportedly left to find jobs in Malaysia, making the country one of the biggest employers of Nepali citizens.
But the same Umno crony behind Malaysia VLN Nepal had also been appointed by the Home Ministry to execute the issuance of visas in India, Bangladesh and China. Such appointments cannot take place without the approval of the minister. In fact, the Umno crony is a state assemblyman from the Pekan Parliament Constituency. The interconnectedness in crony corruption in Malaysia is quite intriguing.
Malaysia VLN Nepal last month filed a request at the country’s Central Bank to transfer around Rs 30 million (RM997000) to Hong Kong and not to Malaysia. A high-ranking official at the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) said that all documents related to this request had been forwarded to the bank governor’s office for further inquiry as to why Hong Kong had been selected and not Malaysia.
It is indeed embarrassing for the Malaysian Government (Foreign Ministry) to allow a private company, Malaysia VLN Nepal, to collect money for visas and approve them on behalf of the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu. Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should come forward to explain why a private company is allowed to operate within the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu and why there is a need for a private company to issue visas and not the Home Affairs Ministry itself.