Malaysia needs time to study Asean joint visa proposal, says Home Minister

BANGKOK: Malaysia needs more time to consider Thailand's proposal regarding a joint visa programme with six other Asean countries to attract more foreign tourists to the region, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The Home Minister said the proposal is still in the early stages of discussion, and Malaysia needs to obtain more information about it.

"Thailand wants to take advantage of the collaboration of six Asean countries that have potential in tourism and economy.

"But Malaysia is always seeking a balance between economic potential and the interest of maintaining national security," he told Bernama recently.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin previously proposed a "Schengen" or joint visa initiative with Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam to further boost tourism in the six member countries, which had combined foreign tourist arrivals of 70 million people in 2023.

In another development, Saifuddin said Malaysia is making several recommendations to China to extend the tourist visa for Malaysians to 30 days from the current 15 days.

He said the proposal will be submitted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for approval first.

Since Dec 1, 2023, Malaysia has implemented a 30-day visa exemption for Chinese citizens, while the Chinese government has granted a 15-day visa exemption for travellers from Malaysia. - Bernama

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