KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15, 2014:

Malaysian students are discouraged from pursuing tertiary education in countries facing unrest, including in the Middle East, as a security measure and to prevent them from being influenced by violence and militancy, the Dewan Negara was told today.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said Malaysian missions in such countries were monitoring students who were already there and were implementing various programmes with the cooperation of the Education Malaysia Division.

“Among the steps taken, include advising students to stay away from gatherings within and outside campuses and high-risk areas.

“Various student engagement programmes are also held from time to time via official statements and the social media to monitor students’ progress and their activities,” he said when replying to a question from Senator Datuk Jamilah Sulaiman.

Jamilah had wanted to know the measures taken by the ministry to prevent Malaysian students abroad from getting involved with the Islamic State (IS) or other militant groups. Kamalanathan said students were also advised not to keep any symbols or pictures in their mobile phones and laptops or carry any printed material, such as books or leaflets, showing support for such groups.

Students were also advised to keep their passports, visas and student passes safely and record the telephone numbers of Malaysian missions and Education Malaysia offices for use in the event of an emergency, he added.

“If an untoward incident takes place, they are advised to report to the authorities immediately.”

Replying to a supplementary question from Jamilah, Kamalanathan said the ministry was seeking the best method for collecting the profiles and information of students who pursued higher education abroad on their own.

He said this would enable the government to contact the students in the event of any incident in countries facing turbulence.

“More than 50% of students who further their education aboard go on their own. For government-sponsored students, we have collated their profiles and information.

“But for private students, we are urging them to register themselves with Malaysian missions or Education Malaysia divisions to enable us to identify them and monitor their activities.”

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