Reasons Malaysian Immigration Bans Malaysians From Travelling Overseas

I think we have heard or seen someone we know (or didn’t know) stopped at the immigration and being sent back. I have, in my years of traveling, witnessed friends who were barred from leaving Malaysia at the airport. It was a stressful situation, especially when these friends have spent a lot of money on purchasing flight tickets, booking hotels online and so forth.

Between 2010 to 2017, a total of 622, 768 individuals are blacklisted from leaving the country. There are a number of reasons why the Malaysian government restrict Malaysians to leave the country. If you plan to go overseas for holiday or work purposes, make sure to always check your status with the immigration.

Reasons Malaysians Are Barred From Leaving Malaysia

  • Outstanding debt with National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) or other banks

The highest percentage of Malaysians that were barred from leaving Malaysia has got to do with having outstanding debt with PTPTN which totals up to more than 120,000. If you have a PTPTN loan and your name is not yet blacklisted, make sure you settle your debt monthly (or opt for the monthly minimal payment fee) so that your name will not be blacklisted. However, if your name is already blacklisted for not paying a sum of fee in a stretch of few months, you will have to do these to clear your name from the blacklist:

  1. Go to your nearest PTPTPN office
  2. Check your outstanding balance
  3. Make your payment
  4. It will take 7 days for your name to be lifted off the blacklist
  5. You can leave Malaysia after that

Since it will take 7 days for your name to be lifted off the blacklist, make sure you make your outstanding payment early (preferably weeks before leaving the country).

There have been some cases however, where Malaysians were barred at the airport due to PTPTN outstanding debt. If this was the case and there are still time before your flight, you can go directly to the PTPTN office at the airport and pay your outstanding in full. PTPTN will lift up your blacklisted name temporarily for you to leave the country. This process however, does take about an hour. If your blacklisted name is not lifted off in time, you will still not able to leave on the airplane. So, to play it safe, make sure to pay your debts before leaving the country.

You can also try to settle your issues by calling PTPTN’s Careline at 03- 21933000.

PTPTN has many times in these few years come up with incentives to encourage repayment of PTPTN loans like the above. Make sure you take up such offer to make it easier for you in the future.

Other outstanding debts could involve outstanding property loans or car loans that has been blacklisted by Bank Negara.

  • Bankruptcy

According to Malaysian Department of Insolvency (MDI), a bankrupt may not travel overseas unless with the written permission from the DGI or after obtaining a court order allowing him to do so. In order to get a written permission from the DGI, a bankrupt has to make an application by stating his intention, reasons and duration of travelling.

The application form with supporting documents must be sent to the Branch that administers this. MDI’s dedicated officers will process the application and will inform the bankrupt on the decision of his application via his preferred mode (i.e. e-mail, phone call or letter). The application can be downloaded at MDI’s website.

If you have been declared a bankrupt before (either by a court order or by your own application), and would like to check your status, you can make online search at under the ‘Services’ link. A fee of RM12.00 will be charged to your credit card (payment via credit card only). Or go to MDI headquarters in Putrajaya. A fee of RM10.00 is payable via cash. The bankruptcy search result will be available in 15 minutes.

  • Did not pay Income Tax or GST

Some of us hate paying the income tax and end up skipping them but this could give you problem if you intend to go overseas some day. Even GST defaulters cannot leave the country until their outstanding are paid.

If you plan to travel overseas, make sure you check if your income tax has been cleared or if your company’s GST payment has been paid. Even if you are only one out of many directors in the company, you might still be barred from leaving the country.

Blacklist will not be lifted off immediately after payment, having to clear with Putrajaya, so early settlement is the safer bet.

  • Outstanding court cases and charged offences

If you are ordered by court to remain in the country for involvement of criminal cases, you will not be able to travel overseas any time soon. If you are being pursued by the police or Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission, you will also be blacklisted from leaving the country until your name is cleared. This would take some time.

  • Ridiculing the government

Yes, this is a “thing” now. If you are found ridiculing, discredit or slandering the government (and get caught!), you will be blacklisted and barred from leaving the country for three years. If you are found doing these when you are abroad, then you will also be barred from leaving the country for three years upon your return to Malaysia.

The ban list for ridiculing the government however is up to the director-general of Malaysia’s Immigration Department. The director-general, upon the advice of police and other agencies have the rights to enforce the ban on any individual from leaving the country (even if there are no cases in court).

  • Losing your passport

If you lose or are careless with your passport (three times in five years), the immigration will not issue you another passport for a minimum of two years.

Example of being careless with your passport : your toddler tear and colour on your passport, or you left it in the washing machine.

How to check your status with immigration?

If you worry you might be blacklisted or barred from leaving Malaysia, do check your status at Malaysia’s immigration. You could also check at this link directly, just key in your IC Number to see if you are on the list or not.

There have been some cases where Malaysians checked their IC Number at the link earlier and their names are clear but a few days before leaving the country, their names are blacklisted. So, try to check your name frequently, especially when closer to the day of leaving the country.

If banned from leaving Malaysia, refer to immigration to determine which agency that has added you to the black list. You can call the 1Malaysia One Call Centre (1MOCC) at 03- 88801000 to find out on this. Some Malaysians are blacklisted in more than one agencies so they would have to settle their outstanding issues with the respective agencies before they are free to travel overseas.

Written by 

LizzaBella is a part-time traveler, amateur photographer and videographer and writer. Connect with LizzaBella through her social medias today!

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