PUTRAJAYA: The government will grant a 30-day visa-free entry for citizens of China and India from Dec 1, as part of the celebration of the 50-year strategic partnership between Malaysia and China next year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said it is an additional facility to the existing visa exemptions currently enjoyed by citizens from Gulf countries and other West Asian nations, including Turkiye and Jordan.
However, Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said that the visa exemption is subject to security screenings.
“Initial screenings will be conducted for all tourists and visitors to Malaysia. Security matters are a different matter; if there are criminal records or the risk of terrorism, they will not be allowed to enter.
“That comes under the authority of the security forces and Immigration,” Anwar, who is PKR president, said in his winding-up speech at PKR’s 2023 Annual National Congress which was attended by 1,391 delegates and 1,269 observers at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) today.
Additional facilities regarding the visa exemption will be announced by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail tomorrow, Anwar said.
The prime minister also thanked China for its decision to implement a unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from Malaysia from Dec 1, 2023 to November 30, 2024.
Meanwhile, Anwar urged all parties, including the opposition, not to underestimate international relations as they significantly contribute to enhancing strategic ties and direct benefits to the country and its people.
He said that his travels abroad are not wasteful and that 90 per cent of the visits were considered a ‘must attend’ by the government, such as the 43rd ASEAN Summit and the 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the United States (US) recently.
“At each gathering (during official visits abroad), we make a lot of effort, initiated by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry, to connect with companies and return home with investments,” he said.
Anwar also said that Malaysia’s ties with Singapore have been enhanced by dispelling long-standing sentiments and prejudices, adding that the Unity Government administration had been very positive on developments, especially during his meeting with his counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong.
“I received his (Lee Hsien Loong) acknowledgment that all matters, whether it’s about water, airspace or border issues, we’ve been waiting for decades and there must be political determination to resolve them and which will benefit both countries,” he said.
The prime minister also said that he will be meeting his counterpart from Thailand, Srettha Thavisin, tomorrow in Sadao, Songkhla Province, to ensure that bilateral travel between the two countries is smooth and efficient.
This is in addition to encouraging tourism between both nations to hit higher levels, he said.
He said that both leaders are committed to ensuring development in the northern region of the Peninsula and southern Thailand, particularly in the four regions, to ensure economic growth, security and peace.
Anwar also said that the government would take immediate steps to improve public transportation facilities and airports across the country in an effort to attract more foreign tourists to Malaysia. - Bernama