PETALING JAYA: The Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia today said Malaysians are not being profiled by airline liaison officers (ALOs), following the case of six Malaysians denied flights to Perth for a holiday.
Andrew Goledzinowski said these officers work at airports to make sure travellers to Australia meet all their entry requirements.
He said 400,000 Malaysians visit Australia every year without facing any problems.
“But some come to work illegally or to overstay. Unfortunately, Malaysia is currently number one in this category,” Goledzinowski tweeted to Twitter user @reenzahari or Reen.
“Our ALOs are well trained and experienced at spotting them. They have helped prevent hundreds of breaches.
“No system is perfect. But it works. And it’s not about ‘profiling’,” he added. “At the moment, Malaysia is one of only four countries in Asia that gets visas online. We want to maintain that status.
“But it means we have to pay attention to who is coming to Australia and for what purpose,” he said, clarifying that he could not comment on this specific case.
Earlier this week, Reen shared how she and her five friends at klia2 were not allowed to board a flight to Perth “based on silly assumptions”.
Her first tweet amassed more than 21,000 retweets and 19,000 likes.
Reen said she and her friends went through the final security checks at klia2 for their 12.05am flight on Aug 2. When the AirAsia ground staff scanned her ticket, the staff put a cross and directed her to security.
There, she met a “mak cik” in her 50s who took all six of their passports. This woman asked them how much money they had brought for their trip. Reen told her they each had brought A$350 (about RM1,000).
Upon hearing this, the woman, who later identified herself as an Australian immigration official, told her that it was not enough because living expenses in Australia are very high and “not like your country”.
She told the immigration official, who was not wearing a uniform, that she had brought along a credit card with a RM20,000 limit, adding she could pay for her friends’ expenditure. The woman laughed.
After telling her that they had an itinerary with destinations with a low budget in mind and booked accommodations, Reen said the lady was suspicious of their intentions in visiting Australia.
They were later told by a security guard that they were not allowed to board.
Despite telling her that they could exchange their ringgit into Australian dollars right then, the immigration official told them she could not let them go to Australia as they had to have a minimum of A$1,000 on them.
Reen claimed a security guard later told them they thought they were going to Australia to pluck fruits.
By this point, the gate had closed and the aircraft they were supposed to board had started moving. Reen said all they could do was watch the plane from where they were and cry inside.