Malaysia: No visas for monks until identities verified

The Star, December 16, 2006

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- The Immigration Department will consider issuing visas to foreign monks only after Buddhist associations in Malaysia have certified their identities, said Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho.

Sin Chew Daily reported that seven Buddhist associations in Malaysia had urged the Government not to freely issue visas to monks.

The daily reported that there were an increasing number of foreigners impersonating monks to collect alms from well-wishers.

“In Buddhism, monks are only allowed to ask alms or food before noon. Bogus monks can be found at night markets. We believe there are syndicates behind such activities,” said Tan.