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Last night as my wife and I were having dinner at our local kopitiam, a man with a flowing beard and dressed in a shalwar kameez and wearing a cap approached our table offering to sell a packet of grapes. Save for asking him where he was from and he replying that he was from Afghanistan and he had come via Batam, we declined his offer. We watched him, going from table to table trying to sell the packets of grapes in his bag. Later, we watched him cross the road and walk towards the Mamak shop. 
About a year ago, a Pakistani opened a furniture shop in my neighbourhood, never mind that there are two Courts Mammoth in the vicinity. Peeping into his shop, there was hardly any furniture and  it was of a quality than even Bangladeshi migrant workers would not buy to furnish their kongsi. But, the Pakistani with the long flowing chrome coloured beard and his Malay wife in a veil, managed to operate the shop for almost a year before shutting down and disappearing.  Was he really running the business using his social visit pass or  was he part of a sleeper cell?  Where do they get the money to open a furniture shop? 
Whatever the case, one can notice that in Johor Bahru, there are now an increasing number of Pakistanis and Afghans, roaming the streets. Just walk around Jalan Trus and you can see them, staying in the cheap guest houses. What exactly are they doing here? Are the authorities keeping tabs on them? Do the authorities even know they are here? 
Then again this Johor. It must be remembered that it was in Ulu Tiram, Johor that the  founders of Jemaah Islamiyah,  opened and ran the terrorist Luqmannul Hashim Madrasah, under the radar. Not to forget, even a Shiah group opened a publication centre, deep in Ulu Tiram, from where they were distributing and posting Shiah materials including their famed Shiah poster of their imams and with the “akan datang” mysterious Mahdi.
It simply begs the question, how are these questionable people allowed to enter the country or is it true (what is spoken quietly) that so long as you are a Muslim and even better, if you are are in religious garb and a flowing beard, you are allowed entry into Malaysia, no questions asked? Just go to Jalan Masjid India, the whole place is teeming with the “pyjama brigade”, in their shalwar kameez, all walking around with a sense of purpose.  Clearly they have an agenda here.
By way of contrast, when I visit my in-laws in Indonesia, within a day or two, the Pak R.T. will inevitably drop by for a courtesy call and to say hello. In truth, he has been informed by the neighbours that there is a foreigner staying in the neighbourhood. My in-laws, are retired PERTAMINA staff and whose house is in the city and in an upper middle class neighbourhood, yet the Pak R.T. in his friendly chat with me will gather details like where I am from, what is my occupation, how long I intend to stay in Indonesia and even have a small talk with my wife. The authorities there stay very alert to foreigners in their midst.
Just like Indonesia, in Thailand, China, Japan and in many countries, it is mandatory for foreigners staying in the country and in particularly those renting houses, to report with the nearest police station. The host or the house owner, is required to lodge the details of the foreigner with the local police station.
Sadly, in Malaysia we have foreigners who after arriving are renting homes and shops and are running businesses and carrying out religious and terror related activities, with nary a care from the authorities. Just go to Bukit Bintang, and see the Middle Easterners running a varied mix of businesses, including phone shops. Recently, a group of Syrians opened up a Kebab Shop in Johor Bahru. How are they able to do it with such ease ?
Some years ago, as the former Johor State DAP Deputy Chairman, in my meeting with the Datuk Bandar Johor Bahru, I proposed that Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru, enact a By-Law that it is mandatory for all house owners renting out homes or providing accommodation to foreigners to lodge the details of their foreign tenants and visitors with the nearest police station and MBJB. 
Guess what was the answer?  “Oh, ini tambah lagi kerja MBJB”. A few weeks later, the police arrested Mas Selamat the wanted and escaped from Singapore Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist, who was staying in the Johor Bahru suburb of Skudai.
In view of the heightened terror activities, and Malaysia being a country with active terror cells, the government and the local councils should expeditiously enact a law which makes mandatory registration of foreigners and also mandatory for homeowners to lodge the details of the visitors and tenants with the police station and the local council.
The government should realise that the terror threats are real and while the police have to be lucky always, the terrorists have to be lucky just once.
(Norman Fernandez)
Comments from Syed Akbar Ali ( :  Malaysia is corrupt. The ‘authorities’ really look forward to these opportunities to make money. The more foreigners come into Malaysia the more opportunities for corruption.  Anyone can come into the country – potential terrorists, eastern European ‘entertainers’, thousands of women who work in various shady estblishments, anyone and everyone is allowed into Malaysia. Just pay them off. 
These are a people with no morals, no values and no ethics. This is the real problem.


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