Crime rate increase among Nigerian students in Malaysia worrying

The authorities are worried over the increasing crime rate among Nigerian students in Malaysia, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said based on statistics, 400 of them are now in prison for various offences.

"We have recorded 40 cases of violent crimes involving Nigerian students here, 505 cases for over-staying and immigration-related offences and 1,003 cases involved commercial crimes.

"We are concerned over the involvement of Nigerians in crime here in Malaysia.

"They are also said to be involved in triads in Bangkok and the Yakuza (crime groups) in Japan," he told Datuk Abd Sheikh Fadzir (BN-Kulim Bandar Baru).

Abd Sheikh wanted to know the number of foreign students in the country and continued efforts to curb abuse of student visas and the number of such cases.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said of the 5,217 cases of foreign students overstaying in Malaysia from 2010 to 2013, 1,579 were from Nigeria.

"However, the number of international students involved in crime in Malaysia is small compared to the 117,833 foreign students studying in colleges and universities nationwide," he added.

The minister also said a Working Group, comprising several government agencies, have been tasked to overcome the issue. Among the proposals included introducing a biometric smartcard for international students.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said his ministry is working with the Education Ministry to punish errant colleges whose foreign students had abused their student visas.

"There have been cases where foreign students who enrol for English language courses at colleges here end up working instead.

"These colleges will be shut down if investigations found that their students have abused their visas," he added.