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The Electronic Travel Registration & Information (eNTRI) system will be closed on from Jan 1 until further notice.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Electronic Travel Registration & Information (eNTRI) system, which enables Chinese tourists to apply for entry into Malaysia, will be suspended from Jan 1, 2019.

A statement on www.windowmalaysia.my, said the eNTRI system will be closed on from Jan 1 until further notice.

According to the statement, applicants who had completed the eNTR1 forms before Dec 31 can still enter Malaysia provided their eNTRI Note is still valid.

“Upon arrival in Malaysia, eNTRI holders will be reviewed by a Malaysian Immigration officer at the Immigration checkpoint to grant or reject entry to the country for any reason under Malaysian law,” read the statement.

The statement offered no explanation as to why the system is put on hold. Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, when contacted, declined comment and said he was leaving the matter to the Home Ministry.

Efforts by reporters to seek an explanation from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB), the company managing the eNTR1 system, also proved fruitless.

On Nov 14, Harian Metro had reported how the eNTR1 system, which enabled Chinese tourists to obtain a 15-day visa-free entry into Malaysia, had allegedly failed to meet its objective as an early screening mechanism.

The report described the system as being a goldmine for UKSB, which was given exclusive rights to manage the system since 2016 by the Home Ministry. The report claimed that UKSB had raked in all proceeds from the RMB160 (RM100) fee, with none of the revenue going to the government.

It was also alleged that the screening for the online application process left a lot to be desired, as approvals would be issued within a mere five minutes. The report also claimed that blacklisted individuals, as well as those with criminal records, were granted entry into Malaysia.

A Harian Metro journalist secured entry approval from the system by using an image of a monkey as his profile picture, a fake address, fake flight tickets as well as details from a blacklisted passport.

The exposé was done following a fact-finding mission in Guangzhou, China by Harian Metro.

The Home Ministry subsequently stated that it would provide several suggestions to the Cabinet on how to improve the Immigration Department’s existing systems. Its minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, was quoted as saying that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is investigating claims of impropriety involving concessionaires handling immigration systems.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that MACC has submitted its investigation papers on corruption involving Immigration Department officers and UKSB to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Sources said the documents have been handed over for further action.

“We are now waiting for feedback from the AG’s Chambers,” said the source, who noted that prosecution could take place sometime in January.

Meanwhile, MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki, when contacted, confirmed the matter but declined comment.

MACC had previously recorded statements from eight of UKSB’s senior management personnel. Its investigation, which began in Sept, also saw the commission seize hundreds of thousands of ringgit as well as assets.

The graft busters had also recorded statements from 10 to 15 immigration officers as part of their probe.

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