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Malaysian gov’t investigating visa fees

Claims of excessive fees by Scicom, the company responsible for managing Malaysian study visas, are being investigated by the country’s education ministry, but the company has hit back against what it says are “malicious allegations”.

Scicom says they are considering legal action against Parti Negara over the claims. Photo: Azlan Baharudin/UnsplashScicom says they are considering legal action against Parti Negara over the claims. Photo: Azlan Baharudin/Unsplash

Parti Negara urged the government to sever ties with the company and look to recover the fees

The claims, made in a memorandum to the government by the newly formed Parti Negara, allege since 2014 Scicom increased per student charges by 1,200% to RM1,000 (US$241) but provided no additional services and left the majority of the work up to the immigration department.

“We are unaware of this new party and their motives”

According to the Free Malaysia Today newspaper which initially published details of the memorandum, education minister Maszlee Malik said the claims would be investigated.

“The Ministry of Education will comprehensively study the allegations and will take appropriate action if it was found that power abuse and mismanagement had taken place,” he said.

In its memorandum, Parti Negara urged the government to sever ties with the company and look to recover the fees, which it claimed totalled into the hundreds of millions of ringgit, while also claiming immigration officials were based in Scicom’s Kuala Lumpur offices.

Currently, under an agreement to manage student visas on behalf of Education Malaysia Global Services, Scicom labelled the claims as malicious and questioned the motives of Parti Negara.

“We are unaware of this new party and their motives behind these malicious allegations,” Scicom senior vice-president Yeeling Wong told FMT.

“The allegations stated are malicious, defamatory and made in bad faith. Scicom would seek legal advice on its recourse against Parti Negara.”

She added under her company’s management, Malaysia’s student visa turnaround time had reduced from up to four months to less than seven business days, saying that labelling Scicoms role as ” ‘negligible’ is completely untrue, to say the least”.

Malaysia attracted over 175,000 international students in 2018 and plans to attract 250,000 by 2025.

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