Govt to ask US why Malaysia not given visa waiver

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PUTRAJAYA: The government will seek clarification from US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir over reports quoting her as saying that Malaysia’s inclusion in the United States’ visa waiver programme (VWP) will not happen anytime soon.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also home minister, said this was because Malaysia had fulfilled all the conditions and standards set by the US for the programme.

“We are fully compliant with the standards set by the US, including in terms of security matters involving loss of passports and lists of wanted people, not only for visa use, but also to meet Interpol requirements.

“We are also fully compliant with our own security standards, especially set by the Malaysian and other international security bodies,” he told reporters after the presentation ceremony of fire extinguishers to 612 tahfiz institutions at the Perdana Putra Building here today.

He said this in response to a recent media report quoting Kamala as saying that the US had no plans to include any new countries, including Malaysia, in its VWP list in the near future.

At present, people from 38 countries are eligible for visa-free entry to the US under the VWP.

Malaysia had expressed its intention to be included in the VWP list during talks between Prime Minister Najib Razak and former US president Barack Obama during the latter’s visit to Malaysia in April 2014.

The VWP enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the US for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa.

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