Visa-free entry: Govt's commitment to strengthen ties

28 Nov 2023 06:00pm
Photo for illustration purposes only. - BERNAMA FILE PIX
Photo for illustration purposes only. - BERNAMA FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - Malaysia's decision to allow a 30-day visa-free entry for visitors from China and India starting Dec 1, shows the government's commitment to strengthen ties with both countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who announced the initiative on Sunday said the exemption was subjected to security screening which will be done for all visitors into the country.

In a statement yesterday, Malaysian Association of Tour Agency (MATA) President Datuk Dr Mohd Khalid Harun said this will also boost the tourism industry besides helping Malaysia become a preferred destination for tourists from China, India, Jordan and Turkiye.

He said MATA welcomed the announcement by Anwar as the move could stimulate tourism and will ease the process of arrival for tourists from the countries from Dec 1.

Khalid said these countries have a large population and a visa-free travel will serve as a welcome booster for deciding to pick Malaysia as their holiday destination.

"With the exemption of visa, MATA hopes to build on the vast potential and opportunities that such an announcement can provide for the tourism industry. There will be a spillover in the hotel, food and beverage and transport sectors," he said.

On Nov 24, the Chinese Embassy also announced that it will be granting 15-day visa-free policy for Malaysians from Dec 1 to Nov 30, 2024.

This aimed at strengthening people-to-people interactions, supporting high-quality development and creating more opportunities.

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President of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) Senator Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan praised these initiatives, foreseeing their role in facilitating business exchanges between Malaysian and Chinese entities.

According to a report by Bernama, Low said this would be a great boost to the business people in Malaysia and China as ACCCIM has very close business relations with its partners in China.

He also said that the visa exemption was aligned with the 50th anniversary of the Malaysia-China diplomatic relations, next year.

China Entreprenuers Association in Malaysia (PUCM) president Datuk Keith Li said out of all the countries in the region, Malaysia was selected for the Chinese government's visa-free policy, which showed the strong bilateral ties between the two countries.

He pointed out that Malaysia received the highest investment commitment of RM170 billion from Chinese investors during Anwar’s official visit to Beijing early this year.

This followed the signing of 19 memoranda of understanding between Malaysian and Chinese companies,he was reported saying.

Meanwhile Consortium of Indian Industries in Malaysia (CIIM) chairman Datuk Umang Sharma emphasised that this move would not only benefit tourism but also facilitate business travel on short notice.

He highlighted the potential to foster mutually beneficial scenarios between both countries, suggesting that an increase in the frequency of flights between major cities would further enhance the positive impact of this initiative.