KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need for a travel advisory against Malaysia as it is a safe country, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“One or two terrorists have been caught, but otherwise we are a safe country.
“People can come here and there is no need for an advisory against Malaysia,” he said at an American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon here.
“I am quite sure that you can come here for dinner or lunch and feel quite safe but in some countries, even as you are praying they can kill you,” said the Prime Minister in response to a question from one of the participants on which state he would recommend to tourists.
Dr Mahathir said while there were many American investors coming to Malaysia, the same could not be said for tourists from that country.
He quipped that US investors should encourage their fellow Americans to visit Malaysia.
“For some reason, we are not getting American tourists. No American planes or companies fly to Malaysia.
“They fly to Singapore, but not to Malaysia. I have always wondered why, we are nice people,” he said.
The United States had placed Malaysia on the “K” list in a travel advisory issued by the US State Department on April 9.
It said the move reflected the US government’s concern over potential kidnapping or hostage-taking situations in certain areas of eastern Sabah.Wisma Putra summoned US Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdir (pic) on Wednesday to explain her government’s decision on the travel advisory.
The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said acting secretary-general Raja Datuk Nushirwan Zainal Abidin had also handed her a protest note expressing the Malaysian government’s objection to the United States’ decision.
Dr Mahathir added that Malaysia would see more Chinese tourists if the visa process was expedited and was hoping for at least 30 million tourists from China by next year.
He also said there were many tourists from neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Indonesia coming to visit Malaysia.
To another question on the upcoming Sandakan parliamentary by-election, Dr Mahathir said Pakatan Harapan would have a comfortable win.
“The man who died was very popular and I think the people have not changed their attitude so much with regard to the party he represented,” he said, referring to the late DAP’s Datuk Wong Tien Fatt, who reportedly died of a heart attack.
The by-election will be held on May 11.
To another question on whether Malaysia would ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Dr Mahathir said many officials from different ministries were “not quite happy” with the pact.
“We have certain policies in this country directed to equalise or reduce the disparity between different communities.
“This is very special to us because we have to try and bring up the bumiputra to the level of other races but to do that, we need to be seemingly unfair to others.
“But I think in time, we will be able to ratify it,” he said.