PETALING JAYA: The drop in Chinese tourist arrivals is a result of political attacks focusing on relations and investments with China, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The former premier said such political ploy and criticism continued beyond GE14 and it will impact the country's economy negatively.
"Today, the media reported that the number of tourists from China has dropped some 35 percent recently, which is the first time it has ever occurred.
"Previously, such tourists increased every year as China is one of the biggest tourist source for Malaysia," he said in Facebook post on Tuesday (Oct 9).
The drop in tourist arrivals from China also led to Musang King durian traders suffering losses, he added.
"Not just durian and tourists, in fact even the price and total export of palm oil has dropped drastically after GE14.
"Good diplomatic relations is of utmost importance," he said.
The Pekan MP said the country's tourism sector is among the biggest sectors in Malaysia, contributing 13.7% (RM168bil) of the economy in 2016.
"The sector also contributes directly and indirectly in creating 1.73mil jobs.
"I hope the drop in tourists from China will be rectified as soon as possible as millions of rakyat are depending on this sector as their source of income," he said.
Tourist arrivals from mainland China to Malaysia dropped by an estimated 30% to 35% during their National Day break last week compared to last year's holiday period.
Industry players said this was the first time Malaysia posted a fall in tourist arrivals from China during their "golden week", or peak tourism season in the Middle Kingdom.
China's "golden week" last year, which took place from Oct 1 to 7, saw about 180,000 Chinese tourists coming to Malaysia.