PADANG BESAR: The government is committed to reopening the Free Flow Zone at the Malaysia-Thailand border gate in Wang Kelian, which was closed in 2015, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

However, he said there will be no compromise on security and procedures will be stricter than before.

“Previously, when this route (free flow) was open, people were only required to show their identity cards, without proper documentation. We will tighten all these procedures to ensure no security elements are compromised.

“I have also discussed this matter with the Perlis Menteri Besar (Mohd Shukri Ramli) and have informed the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, about the proposal to reopen the Free Flow Zone. Tuanku has given strong support and asked the Home Ministry and the state government to coordinate and facilitate this effort,“ he told reporters during a working visit to the Wang Kelian entry point today.

Saifuddin said as part of efforts to reinstate the Free Flow Zone, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had approved an additional allocation of RM14 million for the Wang Kelian Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Complex project.

“The new complex will house all agencies under the Malaysia Checkpoints and Border Agency (MCBA), which has been operational since May 1.

“Other planned components include a four-lane route for inbound and outbound traffic, compared to the current single lane (one for entry, one for exit),“ he said.

Meanwhile, he said the Home Ministry will monitor the presence of tourists from China and India entering the country under the Visa Liberalisation Plan (PLV), by using biometric data collected upon their arrival.

Although the PLV is to revitalise the tourism sector through an influx of tourists from these countries, the government will not compromise on national security, he said.

“Under the PLV, tourists from China and India entering the country do not need a visa and can stay up to 30 days. If they remain in the country beyond 30 days, we have records that allow us to monitor their whereabouts in detail because they must fill out the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) upon arrival.

“If they do not leave the country within this period, we can track them using biometric data,“ he said.

Last year, the government announced a 30-day visa exemption for tourists from China and India under the PLV scheme effective from Dec 1, 2023 to Dec 31, 2024.