PETALING JAYA: There are no plans yet to expand the Visa-On-Arrival (VOA) facility to include Chinese and Indian nationals arriving via direct flights, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
Currently, visa-on-arrival is provided to travellers from these countries who arrive from specific third countries, namely Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei through designated air, land, and sea entry points only.
However, Saifuddin said the government is currently reviewing measures to improve the requirements related to the VOA facility granted to these two countries in order to enhance tourist appeal and increase the number of visitors entering the country.
"For tourists from other countries, they can still utilise the e-visa facility, where e-visa approval notifications will be obtained within a period of two working days," he said in a parliamentary written reply to Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh) who asked the ministry to state the measures taken to improve immigration services at international airports and the Johor Bahru CIQ.
She also wanted to know whether the ministry will provide VOA for tourists from certain countries.
Saifuddin explained that among the short-term initiatives taken by the Home Ministry through the Malaysian Immigration Department to address congestion at KL International Airport includes providing special counters for passengers traveling with senior citizens, children, and persons with disabilities at Counters 36 and 37 as well as deploying more officers from the Home Ministry to expedite the movement of travelers in the waiting line.
In a separate written reply, Saifuddin said that the government has no plans yet to give visa exemptions to tourists from India and China.
He said India and China also required Malaysians to obtain visas in order to enter their respective countries.
He said this in response to a question from Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) who asked the Home Ministry to clarify whether the government will exempt visas for tourists from China and India and allow them to utilise the Automated Clearance System or e-gate facilities for international tourists entering Malaysia.
In February, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing suggested to the government that it should provide VOA for travellers from all countries to remain competitive in the global tourism industry.