M'sia will not discriminate against particular countries with Covid measures: M'sia PM Anwar

Anwar also said that protection of the people's health would take priority over tourism and economic growth.

Tan Min-Wei | January 04, 2023, 07:16 PM

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Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has said Malaysia will tighten medical standard operating procedures on incoming travellers, regardless of origin country.

Protecting the people's health

During a post-cabinet meeting press conference held by Anwar, he said that Malaysia would implement existing procedures on all incoming foreign visitors more strictly.

Responding to a question about the Covid-19 situation in China and how it might affect Malaysia's immigration policy, Anwar said that cases and deaths were currently high both in the United States and in China.

Malaysia recognised that there were problems related to Covid transmission in all countries, and that there would be no discriminatory action taken against any particular country, he added.

Anwar also said the Malaysian cabinet had unanimously agreed that "the people's health would always be (the Malaysian government's) priority", as reported by Malaysiakini.

Tourism and economic development would not be allowed to take precedence over protecting Malaysians against a potential outbreak of Covid-19, the prime minister said, adding that the cabinet had discussed for some time what further measures might be taken to address concerns about new Covid-19 variants.

Anwar also said that the cabinet had tasked Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa with examining those measures.

However, he did not specify what those measures might be, nor did he indicate when they might come into force.

No discrimination

Malaysia's Health Minister Zaliha had earlier indicated on Jan. 3 that her ministry was taking into account the views of several ministries, according to Bernama.

Any decision related to measures targeting travellers would have to be a joint decision of the cabinet as it would affect tourism and economic growth in addition to public safety, she said.

Both Anwar and Zaliha have indicated that Malaysia was not looking to discriminate against foreign travellers from any particular country.

Any additional monitoring or further measures would apply to all travellers regardless of point of origin.

This comes as China is experiencing a surge in Covid cases, but also about to reopen the country for travel.

Some Malaysian commentators and even some Members of Parliament are speculating about whether more measures, including pre-departure Covid testing, will be required for travellers from China.

Malaysia has already implemented some further measures in relation to travellers from China, including the sending of wastewater from all aircraft arriving from China for Covid testing.

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Top image by Anwar Ibrahim/Facebook & Malaysia Airports/Facebook