Keep interstate travel ban in place until pandemic eases, says Sarawak tourism minister

KUCHING: The interstate travel ban should remain in place until the Covid-19 situation in the country improves, says Sarawak's Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (pic).

He said it was not appropriate to lift the ban now to help the tourism industry because the number of positive cases was still high.

"As much as I would love to see the opening of our borders, whether to foreigners or visitors from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, looking at the situation we are facing now -- with positive cases in the thousands -- I think the time is not right yet to open up," he told reporters after handing over financial assistance to charitable bodies and boarding schools at his office here on Tuesday (Feb 9).

Moreover, Karim said, few people were willing to travel now with Covid-19 restrictions in place.

"Even if borders are opened, I don't think anyone would come in because travelling is taboo now and those who come will be subject to quarantine.

"These restrictions will not encourage people to travel," he said.

Last Friday (Feb 5), former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan called on the government to lift the interstate travel ban to help revive the tourism industry in Sabah and Sarawak.

"Allow people to travel from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak without the need for a police permit or special approval," he said on Facebook, adding that Sabah had strict requirements, including negative Covid-19 test results, for those travelling to the state.

Interstate travel is currently not permitted under the ongoing movement control order except with police permission.

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