Malaysian Association of Hotels chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng told StarBiz: “Though limited to only business travellers at the moment, we are confident that it can be further fine-tuned and improved for other target groups.” PETALING JAYA: Hoteliers and property developers welcome the government’s move to allow business travellers into the country following the relaxation of the movement control order (MCO). Malaysian Association of Hotels chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said the reopening of international borders is a huge step forward. “MAH is in full support of the move, where the industry had previously proposed similar procedures. “Though limited to only business travellers at the moment, we are confident that it can be further fine-tuned and improved for other target groups, ” he told StarBiz. The government announced on Tuesday that the MCO on Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang will be switched to conditional MCO for 14 days with effect from March 5 to 18. The four will join Kedah, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan, Sarawak and Perak which are also under the conditional MCO. Remaining states Melaka, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Putrajaya, Labuan and Perlis, meanwhile, will be under the recovery MCO. Lagenda Properties Bhd managing director Datuk Jimmy Doh (pic below) said business travellers are an important part of the tourism economy. “This step is a positive move towards normalcy, which will bolster the plans to bring in investments, especially when the vaccine programme has already been planned. “However, as the curve has just started to flatten again, it would be good to see caution exercised by the authorities, ” he said. Yesterday, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) said Malaysia’s Safe Travel portal, which contains information and advisory services to facilitate business travellers’ entry into Malaysia, is already fully operational. “The portal is a critical component of the One Stop Centre (OSC) initiative that has been set up by the government effective Oct 2,2020, to ease the movement of business travellers by expediting their entry to do business in Malaysia. “The OSC assumes a vital role in ensuring that Malaysia remains steady on economic recovery and growth, while balancing public health and livelihoods and strengthening Malaysia’s position as a competitive and preferred investment destination in Asia, ” Mida said in a statement. It said both short and long-term business travellers may apply for entry permission through the dedicated portal. “Short-term business travellers are those who are not holding any passes and intend to stay in the country for 14 days or less. “They may be considered for exemption from mandatory quarantine subject to the approval of the OSC Committee and adherence to strict standard operating procedures.” MIDA defines short-term business travellers as potential investors seeking to do business in Malaysia; existing investors, namely business owners, board members, executives and associates of companies in Malaysia (without an employment pass; business customers for product qualification and validation before commercial production; and technical experts for ad-hoc emergency cases to serve single or multiple customers across Malaysia. “Business travellers from the above four categories may also apply for a social visit pass under long-term business travellers, should they plan to stay for more than 14 days in the country, ” said Mida. Separately, Mida defines long-term business travellers as those who hold valid passes and intend to stay in the country for more than 14 days. “They will be subject to mandatory quarantine as per the Health Ministry’s guidelines, ” it said. Long-term business travellers comprise new/existing expatriates stranded abroad, namely active holders of an employment pass and resident pass-talent (RP-T); new/existing foreign technical experts stranded abroad with a professional visit pass (PVP) to serve multiple customers across Malaysia; frequent foreign business travellers (exit and return), including regional establishments, regional operations and principal hubs representatives; permanent resident pass holders; Malaysia My 2nd Home (MM2H) social visit pass holders; frequent Malaysian business travellers (exit and return); and social visit pass holders. “Business travellers must obtain relevant visas (if applicable) from the respective Malaysian Embassy or High Commission/Consulate General Offices abroad before their departure to Malaysia, ” Mida said.
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