PETALING JAYA: A new measure in the revised Budget 2016 to give visa exemption to tourists from China shows the Government’s determination to boost the tourism sector and the economy, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
“The Government is committed to improving the tourism industry. The visa is given free so we can attract more tourists from China,” the Transport Minister said during his visit in Petaling Street yesterday.
Liow was responding to measures announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in his speech on the revised Budget aimed at stimulating economic growth.
Najib said giving visa exemption to Chinese tourists for a 15-day stay in Malaysia commencing from March 1 to Dec 31, 2016 was one of the measures to boost tourism and the economy.
Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said the visa exemption should be implemented now so that the economy could benefit earlier from an expected boom.
“We hope that this visa relaxation will be implemented with immediate effect so that we don’t miss out on peak season visitors from China,” said ACCCIM president Datuk Ter Leong Yap.
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) said the tour and travel industry had been waiting eagerly for the implementation of this measure for years.
“It’s about time (to grant visa exemption) because we are one of the last Asean countries to do this. Our Asean neighbours are ahead of us and this is the time to wake up,” said MATTA president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat.
On the revised Budget as a whole, Liow, who is also MCA president, said: “The Prime Minister’s speech on Budget 2016 shows the Government is still stable and has good measures to increase economic growth.”
Liow said tax relief and limiting new housing projects priced up to RM300,000 to be sold only to first-time house buyers could help lower the cost of living.
“I am optimistic the measures can help the economy,” said Liow, who had also earlier launched the Chinese New Year decorations in Petaling Street.
“I hope we can have a good start to the new year and be rid of the bad things that happened in 2015.
“Petaling Street should be a harmonious place that could stimulate business for the traders in the area.”