(Stock image for illustration purposes) So far this year, three Israelis were allowed entry on the basis of existing commercial ties.

KUALA LUMPUR: Up to 105 Israeli citizens were permitted entry to Malaysia between 2016 and March this year, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said on Thursday.

He revealed that the Israelis were allowed entry after the ministry concluded that their visit here would be beneficial to Malaysia’s economy, technological development, education sector and society, Bernama reported.

“In 2016, 33 Israelis were given permission on trade considerations to attend meetings here, and to provide training to Malaysian workers on microchip engineering,’’ Mohd Azis said in the Dewan Rakyat.

He was answering a question from Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (Pas-Pengkalan Chepa) on the number of Israeli citizens who had been allowed into the country in the past few years.

Mohd Azis added that 35 Israeli athletes were permitted entry in 2017, while 34 Israelis were allowed in to attend international conferences.

He said so far this year, three Israelis were allowed entry on the basis of existing commercial ties.

However, in line with the government’s new policy, no more approvals have been given to Israelis to enter the country.

On a related matter, Mohd Azis refuted claims, raised by Ahmad Marzuk, that an Israeli spy was present at a department of the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP).

“(The) individual was an engineer (who was here) for the maintenance of an RMP system, and not a spy.

“Of course, our representatives were present to observe the maintenance process as it was conducted,’’ he said.