Malaysia to Reopen Borders to Tourists

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Malaysia has announced that it plans to reopen to international visitors after long-term border closures due to COVID-19.

Tourists who get a Malaysia eVisa online will be able to travel to the Southeast Asian nation for vacations in the near future.

The decision from the Malaysian government comes after several neighboring countries like Thailand and the Philippines have also reopened to international tourism.

Although the exact date has not yet been announced, it has been suggested that Malaysia’s borders may open some time in March 2022.

It is expected that incoming passengers will have to comply with some health and safety measures, such as testing for COVID-19. According to the former Malaysian Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, “the reopening of borders has to be planned carefully in line with the current risk assessment.”

Malaysia’s Plan to Reopen Borders

For almost 2 years, Malaysia has maintained strict travel regulations, with borders closed to the majority of foreign nationals.

Malaysia had previously begun to deescalate its COVID-19 travel restrictions by opening travel corridors with certain other countries, including Indonesia and Singapore. Passengers were still subject to certain regulations when entering the nation.

Malaysia’s National Recovery Council held a meeting on February 8, 2022 to decide when and how to reopen the country’s borders to all foreign visitors.

The Council discussed what the rules would be for incoming travelers. The entry procedures and testing requirements were among the topics debated.

There has been talk of a need for efficient COVID-19 testing (both before departure and after arriving), increased health and safety protocols, and ensuring local Malaysians receive their booster shots.

Members of the Malaysian government have since announced that the country will soon reopen its borders. However, the requirements for travel have yet to be determined.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in a press conference: “Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will announce the date [soon]. We already have a date, and we will leave it to him to announce.”

It is hoped that the move will reinvigorate Malaysia’s tourist industry, which has been severely affected by the pandemic.

What will the entry requirements be for tourists traveling to Malaysia?

The Malaysian authorities have not yet determined exactly what the entry requirements will be.

During the meeting in February, Chairman Yassin of the National Recovery Council proposed making it a requirement for passengers to test negative before departure and take a second test on arrival in Malaysia.

It has been reported that the Council were against the idea of making quarantine mandatory for all travelers. It is likely that only passengers who test positive for COVID-19 on arrival will have to isolate.

Other probable entry requirements for Malaysia include having the following items:

  • Travel itinerary
  • Pre-arranged accommodation
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover the trip

Talks are ongoing to decide the full details of the travel requirements and restrictions once the borders open.

Which Malaysian Borders Will Be Open?

The plan is to open all of the country’s borders, including airports and land border checkpoints.

This includes the major hubs of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the Sultan Iskandar Building in Johor (the main road link between Malaysia and Singapore).

Tourism and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri said “All of the country’s borders will be open, including the land borders such as the Causeway.”

The COVID-19 Situation in Malaysia

The coronavirus situation has stabilized in Malaysia, following a 4th wave of the virus. This was brought on by infectious variants, including the Omicron variant.

The latest wave had several encouraging signs. A much greater proportion of positive cases were asymptomatic or showed less severe symptoms than in previous waves. There were also far fewer patients hospitalized or in intensive care.

This has been attributed to the country’s successful vaccination campaign. Around 98% of adults and 88% of teenagers have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, around half the adults in Malaysia have received a booster dose.

These signs of stabilization and resistance to the virus have been a factor in making the decision to reopen borders.

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