Malaysia scraps visa requirements for travellers from China, India

Malaysia will scrap entry visa requirements for citizens of China and India visiting the nation beginning December 1, according to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Chinese and Indian nationals may stay for up to 30 days visa-free, Anwar said in a speech at his People’s Justice Party’s annual congress in Putrajaya late on Sunday.

Malaysia is counting on extra tourist arrivals – and their spending – to support economic growth. Anwar last month announced plans to improve visa facilities next year to encourage the entry of tourists and investors, “especially from India and China”.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim noted that travellers “with criminal records and risk of violence will not be given the visa”. Photo: Bloomberg

“Next year, Malaysia will be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties with China,” he said during the congress on Sunday, adding that the visa exemption would be subject to security screening.

“Those [from these countries] with criminal records and risk of violence will not be given the visa,” Anwar said.

Countries whose nationals already enjoy visa exemptions in Malaysia include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Turkey and Jordan.

China to allow citizens of 6 nations visa-free entry to country

China on Friday said it would allow citizens of six countries including Malaysia to enter the country without a visa. The move takes effect from December 1 and will last until November 30 of next year, and will allow leisure, business and family travellers from those nations to stay in China for up to 15 days visa-free.

China and India are Malaysia’s fourth and fifth-largest tourism source markets, respectively.

According to government data, Malaysia recorded 9.16 million tourist arrivals between January and June this year, with 498,540 from China and 283,885 from India. That compared to 1.5 million arrivals from China and 354,486 from India in the same period of 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Anwar said he would also be meeting Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Monday.

“I will be heading to the border of Sadao [Thailand] and Bukit Kayu Hitam with the Thai prime minister,” he said. “We have taken this approach to ensure two-way travel is good, efficient and will encourage more two-way travel between Thailand and Malaysia.”

‘Dangerous places’: insurgents, drugs and tourists at the Malaysia-Thai border

Anwar said this would also spur development in Southern Thailand and northern Peninsular Malaysia, adding that the necessary measures would be taken to encourage tourism, including upgrading transport infrastructure at airports.

As for Singapore, Anwar said relations between the two neighbours were stronger now, adding that there must be political would to resolve any issues to ensure win-win solutions for both countries.

He said the special economic zone in Johor would ensure stronger cooperation with Singapore.

Additional reporting by Reuters, The Star

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