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Experts Argue If Malaysia Should Reopen Borders For Tourism

Experts Argue If Malaysia Should Reopen Borders For Tourism

Akmal Hakim

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As the economy slowly reopens under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), industry players are voicing their opinions on whether we should let tourists back into the country and allow Malaysians to travel abroad.

On one side of the aisle, experts are saying that Malaysia could allow travel to and from countries that are free of Covid-19 as it would have great financial benefits to the country.

As reported by The Sun, Malaysian Wellness Society President Datuk Dr. Rajbans Singh argues that if proper guidelines are set in place, Malaysia could allow tourism to resume by limiting travel to selected countries that are Covid-Safe.

This opinion was shared by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents President Datuk Tan Kok Liang who explained that tourism would boost the nation’s economy as other sectors such as the food and beverage industry and the transportation sector would see business returning from incoming tourists.

Meanwhile, former Deputy Health Minister Dr. Lee Boon Chye says that Malaysia can allow for travel between Covid-Safe countries like China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The former minister also mentions that other sectors such as certain sports and entertainment facilities as well as education institutions should be allowed to reopen gradually while still maintaining a ban on large scale events and gatherings.

Boost in tourism revenue for Malaysia on back of higher 1Q2019 ...
(Credit: TTG Asia)

However, there are still those who remain skeptical if Malaysia is ready to reopen our borders to the world.

Dr Mohamed Al-Hadi Mohamed Razhi, head of Emergency Services at Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara argues that Malaysia should put off letting people travel in and out of the country until we’re sure that the country can maintain a safe Covid-free environment.

The doctor said that it would be impossible to maintain hygiene and social distancing practices if businesses associated with tourism like spas, night clubs, and other tourist attractions are reopened.

Patrons catch a meal at an eatery in the Pavilion shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on the first day of the conditional movement control order May 4, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
(Credit: Miera Zulyana/Malay Mail)

Sharing his views is Thomson Hospita’s Senior Consultant Paediatrician Datuk Dr. Amar Singh H.S.S. who said that restrictions should only be lifted if Malaysians can comply to Covid-guidelines and maintain their own safety and wellbeing.

Dr. Amar explains that the country should instead focus efforts on ensuring that the chain of infection is broken by continually testing for new cases and isolating affected areas.

On June 4, Malaysia recorded 277 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total cases in the country to 8,247.

Globally, coronavirus infections have spread to every single continent on the planet (except for Antarctica) with over 6.5 million confirmed cases and over 300,000 deaths.

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