Discussions to reopen international borders still in progress

BERA: Malaysia is still not opening its international borders to foreign tourists and workers as discussions with countries categorised as green zones are still going on.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in the talks, Malaysia stressed on obtaining reciprocity to allow Malaysians to enter the countries concerned.

“We want the opening of borders to work both ways. If they are still tightening conditions for our people, we would also not allow theirs to enter.

“The matter is being discussed by the Foreign Ministry. Nonetheless it depends on the advice of the Ministry of Health (MOH) as some countries which were earlier in green zone have returned to red again, we will look at the current situation,” he said.

He told reporters after a goodwill event with COVID-19 frontliners which was also attended by Pahang Basic Amenities, Public Delivery System and Innovations Committee chairman Datuk Seri Norolazali Sulaiman here today.

Ismail Sabri who is Bera MP also said MOH had identified six COVID-19 green zone countries for conditional reopening of international borders namely Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

He however said the four categories of exemptions for foreigners to enter the country in compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) are still the same and they are diplomats, EP1 category expatriates, Malaysia My Second Home participants and students resuming their courses.

Meanwhile, he said Malaysia has identified the locations and number of Malaysians stranded in other countries due to the movement control of the countries involved.

He said they are divided into two categories, Malaysians on visit overseas and students abroad and the Foreign Ministry would be getting detailed statistics on them.

“We will discuss which category is pressing to bring back. The Foreign Ministry will be putting up the proposals and we will decide,” he said.