PETALING JAYA: The case of a Russian man, said to have been duped into paying RM176,000 to obtain permanent resident (PR) status, shows there is a need to revamp the citizenship application system, say opposition MPs.
They also claimed the current system is open to corruption.
Kulai DAP MP Teo Nie Ching said the government needed to be transparent with applicants over their status.
“A PR application may be prolonged up to two years. People are frustrated when they wait for two years, only to be turned down in the end.
“Because of the system, the frustrated applicants try to hasten the applications by paying money,” she said.
Teo was commenting on an FMT report today that a Russian man, who only wanted to be known as Rafiq, was seeking justice after alleging he was cheated into paying RM176,000 for a PR in Malaysia.
He said he was introduced last year to a lawyer, called “Farouk”, through a director of an agency specialising in migration, residency and citizenship services.
He was told he needed to pay US$20,000 (RM86,000) to process his application.
Rafiq also forked out another RM90,000 to the lawyer to expedite the process.
Subsequently, he received all his “PR documents” after paying a total of RM176,000.
The business consultant only realised his documents were fake when he went to the National Registration Department (JPN) to change his house address and that of his family members.
He and his wife were fined RM10,000 after he pleaded guilty to possession of false documents.
Rafiq filed a police complaint that led to the arrest of the director of the agency Rafiq had dealt with. Police are now looking for the lawyer.
Teo said the government should set up an online application system that allowed applicants to check their status.
“Why do they need to go through a two-year ordeal to know their fate? There is no reason for them to suffer”.
Another MP, Charles Santiago, said Rafiq’s case raises questions on whether the agents involved were working together with the authorities to cheat the people.
“The government must be tough about abuses in the system.
“What the Russian man said about having to pay over RM100,000 for a PR has really undermined our system.”
The Klang DAP MP also said the Malaysian Bar should take action against the lawyer if he has breached his professional ethics.
“By taking action, this will also serve as a deterrent to other lawyers who may be involved in such illegal activities,” Santiago said.
Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed, in responding to the article, said the government had never authorised anyone to process PR applications.
“Do not trust anyone masquerading as an agent and promising to get you PR here.”
Jazlan also told those wanting PR not to take any shortcuts.
“Come to the immigration office to register personally and fill up the forms. Applicants will be evaluated and background checks will be conducted by police.
“No, they will not have to pay us (government) more than RM100,000 for a PR application,” he said, adding an applicant only needed to pay RM120 for the application and processing fees.
On Teo’s suggestion to have an online system for applicants to track their status, the Pulai MP said the government had yet to consider that suggestion.