VTL talks ongoing with countries under travel restriction, says Santhara

  • Nation
  • Monday, 01 Aug 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Discussions are still ongoing to allow Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with several countries that have yet to fully reopen their borders including with China in order to boost tourism activities, says Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara Kumar.

The Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said his ministry had expressed their recommendations through the Foreign Ministry to the representatives of the Chinese government to allow its citizens to visit Malaysia as soon as their borders reopen.

"The recommendations had been presented by the Tourism Ministry to the Foreign Ministry for it to be presented by the Malaysian delegation at a suitable arena and time," he told Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) during Question Time.

Bung Moktar had asked the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to state the criteria that will be refined by the ministry in opening the country's borders to more foreign countries such as China.

Santhara said that his ministry will continue to work closely with all parties including Wisma Putra, the Transport Ministry and Immigration Department to find the best solutions together with the representatives of the government of China in order to strengthen cooperation and boost tourism between Malaysia and China.

Asked on the proposal to introduce visa on arrival for tourists from China to further boost arrivals, Santhara said that the ministry was supportive of the idea not only for travellers from China but also those from India.

"We believe there is a need for that. Secondly, (there is a need for) multiple visa entry.

"For instance, when they enter Malaysia and have a transit, they cannot re-enter Malaysia, like for those travelling to Singapore," he said.

He also noted that there were previous cases of abuse of visa on arrival, where more than one million travellers with such visas did not return back to their countries upon the expiry of their visas.

"So, there have been such cases. I am confident that the ministry and the Cabinet will review regarding the preparedness to implement it so it will not be abused.

"For instance, last time due to the previous implementation of visa on arrival used by some travellers from India, it had caused a massive influx of foreigners in Brickfields, leading to some doing businesses and others.

"And we do not want this to be repeated," he said.

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