Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia ‘travel ban is temporary’

Malaysia ‘travel ban is temporary’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Singapores Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) speaks with Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob beside a cross-border bus at the Woodlands checkpoint in Singapore at the launch of the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Singapore and Malaysia. SINGAPORE INFORMATION MINISTRY/AFP

Malaysia ‘travel ban is temporary’

As reports emerge of the Covid-19 Omicron variant spreading globally, the Malaysian government will be assessing the situation daily and broadening travel restrictions.

Malaysia health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Malawi has been added to the list of countries under temporary travel

restrictions as of December 1. Other countries currently on the list are South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The temporary travel restriction only applies to non-Malaysians from these countries. Malaysians and those holding long-term passes, including permanent residency status, spouse visa, MM2H, and residence passes, will not be barred from entry.

However, they will be required to undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine regardless of their vaccination status, he said.

“They will also need to undergo a RT-PCR test 72 hours before flying and after arriving at international travel gates and on the 10th day of quarantine.

“A risk assessment will be conducted on the 14th day and the quarantine period will be extended if there are symptoms,” he said.

Malaysians will also not be allowed to travel to the countries on the list and entry of international students and foreign workers from these countries will be postponed.

Khairy said the countries were placed on the list based on whether the Omicron coronavirus variant spread from an imported case or community transmission.

“We also looked at the country’s vaccination rate and whether there was a risk of high transmission in a short time.

“If the vaccination rate is low and the community spread is wide, then the ministry’s risk assessment is to put the country on the list, but if the transmission is due to imported cases and is low, and the country has a high vaccination rate, then we will not add it to the list,” he said during December 1’s press conference.

This assessment will be reviewed daily by the ministry, he said, adding that the steps are taken as a precautionary measure and not to punish the countries on the list.

“The ministry will also prepare a list of countries recognised as ‘at high risk of Omicron variant infections’ for distribution to relevant agencies on a daily basis,” he said.

He pointed out that this was only a temporary measure until more information is available about the variant.

“If we find that it is not a threat to public health then we will loosen the restrictions once again.

“This is in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendation not to overreact to the variant of concern and to respond in a proportionate manner and to continue to share information while updating measures,” he said.

When asked if the government would also impose temporary travel restrictions on the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Australia following reports of suspected community transmissions of the Omicron variant, Khairy said the government still needs more information before completing a risk assessment.



  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa