Malaysia, Indonesia tighten visa rules for Iranians

Iranians can no longer enter Malaysia or Indonesia without obtaining a visa prior to arrival.

By Khabar Southeast Asia

December 24, 2013
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Under new immigration rules, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta cancelled visa on arrival (VOA) policies for Iranians, according to local media reports.

  • Iranians Mohammad Hardani, 36, and his daughter Athena Hardani, 10, are reunited at a hotel in Juanda, Indonesia on December 23rd, 2011 after surviving the sinking of an Australia-bound people-smuggling boat five days earlier. At least 90 migrants died in the incident. Indonesia and Malaysia recently cancelled visa-on-arrival policies for Iranians to stem people- and drug-smuggling, authorities say. [Juni Kriswanto/AFP]

    Iranians Mohammad Hardani, 36, and his daughter Athena Hardani, 10, are reunited at a hotel in Juanda, Indonesia on December 23rd, 2011 after surviving the sinking of an Australia-bound people-smuggling boat five days earlier. At least 90 migrants died in the incident. Indonesia and Malaysia recently cancelled visa-on-arrival policies for Iranians to stem people- and drug-smuggling, authorities say. [Juni Kriswanto/AFP]

The two countries changed visa requirements to prevent Iranians from using Malaysia or Indonesia as transit points for people-smuggling-- and to stem Iranian involvement in both drug smuggling and illegal drug use on their territory, officials said.

Malaysia announced the new policy in October. Indonesia announced its new visa rules for Iranians back in July.

Iranians now must apply for a visa ahead of time, and the entry document would only be valid for a 14-day stay in Malaysia, The Star Online quoted Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying October 29th.

"We are committed towards Australia's request to ensure those who come from Iran and Syria do not use Malaysia as a transit point to enter Australia illegally," he told reporters.

"Our national interest"

Jakarta's decision was mainly motivated by a need to combat international drug-trafficking in the country as in recent years, foreign drug dealers arrested in Indonesia were primarily Iranian, anti-narcotics officials said.

"Many Iranians are misusing such visa facilities. They did not come here for tourism purposes, but used Indonesia as a transit point before seeking asylum in Australia and for drug smuggling," Maryoto Hadi, a spokesman for the Law and Human Rights Ministry, was quoted as saying in The Jakarta Post.

"Following the recent arrests of Iranian citizens by BNN officers, we renewed our request to the Law and Human Rights Ministry to review the VOA facility for Iranians.," National Narcotics Agency (BNN) spokesman Sumirat Dwiyanto told the paper. "It has finally approved it and we greatly appreciate the decision."

Indonesia considered concerns about Australian asylum seekers from Iran transiting through the archipelago, but this was not the main factor that drove the decision, according to Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin.

"The main consideration is our national interest, even though keeping good relations with our neighbouring country is also part of our national interest," Amir was quoted as saying.

Iranians in Malaysia: Wearing out their welcome?

Malaysia has a sizable Iranian émigré population. According to the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, the Iranian diaspora in Malaysia ranges between 70,000 and 100,000.

They are drawn by its relative affordability, even though Malaysia permits Tehran's intelligence service to monitor Iranian expatriate activities in the country, according to the Institute.

Yet quite a few Iranians have been implicated in drug trafficking cases in Malaysia, to the point the issue reportedly strained diplomatic relations between Kuala Lumpur and Tehran.

Additionally, in February 2012 Iranian Masoud Sedaghatzadeh was arrested for involvement in a botched terror attack in Thailand for which two other Iranians have been charged.

Bi-lateral ties tensed in October when Malaysia rebuffed a warning from Tehran not to sentence two Iranian women to death on drug trafficking charges, AFP reported.

In a statement to AFP, Malaysia's Foreign Ministry said that while it valued relations with Iran it could not tolerate "illegal activities which are detrimental to Malaysia's image and security."

Reader Comments
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    • armin
      October 15, 2014 @ 10:10:29PM
    • And by the way i have to say that development in your country is very fast and admirable but it has overtaken people development,with all these technologies and development you still living like people on trees which is your originality.
    • pantea
      October 13, 2014 @ 12:10:21PM
    • Thanks God Malaysia has been black listed among 15 terrorist countries
    • Sayeh
      October 13, 2014 @ 12:10:00PM
    • Thank God Malaysia has been blacklisted in the group of 15 “terrorist-risk countries”.
    • sam soleymani
      October 11, 2014 @ 06:10:06AM
    • with all due respect, i would like to mention certain aspect regarding this matter: 1. this is all polotical 2. i am so soory to mention that two muslim countries are getting separated. 3. by the way u only need our money and petrol 4. as one of the people said there are good and bad people in every country 5.there are rude people in every country
    • Farnaz
      September 29, 2014 @ 05:09:54AM
    • I am so sorry to read these comments, not as an Iranian but as a human. Both countries people claims that they are muslim, but they do not remember the Prophet advise to not judge any body when you dont know them. How you can judge 70 million people with the mistakes of a few of them? I have a question. All Malaysian and Indonesians are Innocents? Dont you have any drug dealer in your countries? why arent you talking about most successful Iranians all over the world? Why aren't you talking about Iranian scholars in Malaysia? Dont share the value of people together and to their government, and dont judge people based on their government. If you are talking about Islam, you are mistaken. Because Muslim is Muslim, no different where are they from. I am so sorry for my Muslim brothers and sisters who allow themselves to judge a population without any information.
    • bardi
      April 17, 2014 @ 07:04:55PM
    • lol u think about money and problem from outside?u better think about china who run ur country and do whatever they want, otherwise just dont talk as u have no logic and talk about shiaa and sonii ,, man now no one care about religion ,such a asshole u are
    • morez
      February 21, 2014 @ 11:02:33AM
    • a I am iranian, I know so many reasone but the important is humanity! if some iranians did that wrong jobs so why I have to pay for it! I love Bali Island and I travell there 3 time, now I want to go again for haliday and maybe business but unfortunatly all my plans not match to this deside, anyway goverments have to do what make their country safer not like didnt give visa!
    • BISWAJIT
      March 14, 2014 @ 12:03:08PM
    • Hi Friend,I like Cooperation with the Government . It is not a permanent decession so far, let wait and see, Good day will come back very soon.
    • didi
      February 12, 2014 @ 03:02:00PM
    • I tend to agree, it is frightening because besides bringing unrest, they also bring the Shia to our country. This can mean disaster.
    • nurul izati
      January 29, 2014 @ 05:01:52AM
    • I want to ask for information from anyone who knows how to send money from Iran to Indonesia. My family lives there and I would like to send them money, thanks.
    • AFA GARDEN
      January 20, 2014 @ 05:01:09PM
    • Whatever happens, we need to be careful when it comes to Iranians because they bring with them the seeds of turmoil and destruction. The big question is why many Iranians risk their lives to go to Australia. What is actually happening in their country? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sixBJOznOVg
    • frankiecheong
      January 19, 2014 @ 09:01:46PM
    • See what happen in Sabah, Lahad Datu case
    • Ajit
      January 13, 2014 @ 06:01:29AM
    • Yes, l do agree with disallowing Iranians into our country. Thy are also very rude and trouble maker. They say they are Islam but they do Havoc and with dirty money try presuade our country people to work with them. Yes its true they might smuggle Bom into our country. The Authortied should Ban them Fully even their student.
    • gede
      April 26, 2014 @ 06:04:36PM
    • using religion as leverage to hide there real intension for there own benefit (ego)to take advantage of other country`s honesty and trust so they can poison it with there own so called (fake)values.
    • armin
      October 15, 2014 @ 10:10:27PM
    • I as a Persian completely agree with your curropted government i hope they do it soon and not allow any iranian into your rubish country so we don't spend our money in here.
    • BISWAJIT BANERJEE
      January 10, 2014 @ 03:01:05AM
    • MONEY BE GETS MONEY, BUT NOT IN THIS WAY BY WHICH HUMAN SOCIETY FALL IN DANGER, MONEY CAN GIVE ALL KIND OF HAPPINESS BUT THAT IS ONLY FOR TIME BEINGS, IT CAN RUINED THE SOCIETY IN ANY MOMENT BY THIS WAY OF SMUGGLING, THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO EARN HONESTLY AND HARMLESSLY. THIS WORLD IS VERY BEAUTIFUL, ENJOY IT WITH THIS SHORT SPAN OF LIFE, AFTER ALL EVERY ONE HAVE TO GO TO THE END OF LIFE. ATTEMPT OF ANY GOVERNMENT THROUGH OUT THE WORLD AGAINST ANY KIND OF MISCREANTS IS HIGHLY SALUTED. MYSELF ALSO FOR GOVERNMENT FOR A BETTER TOMORROW.
    • yuko
      January 8, 2014 @ 11:01:23AM
    • What is the matter with Iran? In the midst of much praise for the scientific and technological advancements of Iran, praise towards its governmental system, why are so many of its citizens emigrating to Australia, an ally of America? They say they are against America and yet they go to Australia, smuggling drugs of all things. Wouldn't their clerics forbid that? Why would they disobey their clerics? What are they looking for? Is it to become rich in Australia with its mining prospects and higher wages compared to Indonesia? Are their lives back home insufficient? Why, I wonder, is it just them? God must know, and the Iranian government must know, why so many would put their lives at the mercy of the sea traveling to Australia.
    • Ismail
      October 12, 2014 @ 08:10:35PM
    • you may not be able to judge them, unless you wear their shoes and walk with them at least once, to see what are their reasons to act like that :)
    • floyd
      January 7, 2014 @ 07:01:15AM
    • the next thing they intend to smuggle will be the atom bomb, they will go to haven with it,
    • Chandran Sukumaran
      January 23, 2014 @ 07:01:54AM
    • Malaysia should take the initiative to oust Iran from OIC.
    • hashim
      January 6, 2014 @ 12:01:39PM
    • yes, it high time for us to act. Congratulation to government of both countries malaysia and indonesia that finally come to their senses. Thank You very much for doing that
    • Sudiono
      December 30, 2013 @ 08:12:58PM
    • Other nations that often cause trouble and hurt the nation and causing trouble for the country.... do not let them into our country. How hard is it to make regulations (do not complicate what is simple).
    • asrimah
      December 24, 2013 @ 10:12:14PM
    • Iranians are like that. They want to relocate and are prepared to bring drugs with them. If they are lucky they are released, if not, they die. They would risk their lives for drugs.
    • HENRYINTANGHENRY
      December 29, 2013 @ 12:12:02PM
    • I totally agree with Asrimah.
    • farnaz
      September 29, 2014 @ 05:09:23AM
    • If you want to know who Iranian are, please reffer to the link . If you have anybody from your country, let me know. It would be interesting. https://es-es.facebook.com/notes/younes-raf/why-we-should-be-proud-to-be-iranian-the-most-famous-intelligent-iranians-in-the/241222375910584
    • Armin
      October 15, 2014 @ 10:10:17PM
    • Thank farnaz for sharing the link,i dont think they even have brain to have such a intellegent people in their country.

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