KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday announced that visitors from India and China will be granted 30-day visa-free entry into Malaysia from December 1, Malaysia-based Malay Mail reported. He said that the visa exemption is still subject to security screenings for past records of crime or violence.
In his address at the 2023 People’s Justice Party (PKR) National Congress, Anwar Ibrahim said, “Starting from December 1, we will give additional facilities of 30 days of visa exemption to the Arab countries, Turkey, Jordan, and citizens of China and India to come to Malaysia,” Malay Mail reported.
He later clarified that Middle Eastern nations – Turkey and Jordan already enjoy the 30-day visa-free entry and added that it was now extended to people from India and China. He noted that tourism within the ASEAN region was mostly from neighbouring nations like Singapore and Indonesia, according to Malay Mail report.
Malaysia’s decision comes after a similar visa exemption announced by Sri Lanka and Thailand. Earlier in October, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry said that Sri Lanka will allow visa-free entry to visitors from seven countries, including India, China and Russia, under a pilot project.
Ali Sabry noted that the Sri Lankan cabinet had approved the decision. He said that the pilot project has begun with immediate effect and will continue until March 31, 2024.
Taking to X, Ali Sabry stated, “Cabinet approves issuing of free visas to India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia & Thailand with immediate effect as a pilot project till 31 March.”
Similarly, Thailand announced that Indian tourists will be allowed visa-free entry to the country for a period of six months starting November 10, local media reported. The announcement was made following a decision by the Thai Cabinet, which agreed to exempt tourists from India and Taiwan from requiring an entry visa to stay in Thailand for up to 30 days, effective May 10, 2024, Thai PBN World reported.
Thai PBS World is Thailand’s public service broadcaster.
In response to certain challenges, particularly a drop in Chinese tourist arrivals, the Cabinet previously decided to extend similar visa exemptions to tourists from China and Kazakhstan for a limited period, aiming to boost tourism during the last quarter of the year, the report by Thai PBN World said.
According to the Thai broadcaster, data for the first nine months of this year revealed that around 1.26 million Indians explored Thailand, and this number is projected to rise to approximately 1.55 million by the year’s end, Thai PBN World reported. Indian tourists, on average, spend 41,000 baht per person during their 7-8 day stay in Thailand. (ANI)