Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has requested that Malaysians do not overreact to tourists arriving from China.
He said should the government take any action on tourists, it would be arrivals from the US.
“Some quarters said we should not allow tourists from China into Malaysia. I want to request that the rakyat don’t overreact.
“The government is always ensuring that people’s health is a priority.
“We cannot implement special control on China’s tourists, that’s not fair,” Tiong told reporters after lighting up Petaling Street today for this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations here.
He added that based on data received from China, only 10.9 million Covid-19 cases have been reported
“If we feel that China’s Covid-19 cases are high, to date, based on the data we received, there is only 10.9 million cases.
“If you look at the US, it’s 99 million, if we want to take action, we should do that for the US. Even based on death rate, US’ deaths are already at 1.08 million while China is only at 36,000.
“But even though it’s low, we will monitor it. God willing, there has been no Covid-19 cases reported from tourists who visited us, including those from China,” he said.
When asked about Chinese tourists are stranded in Malaysia due to their home country’s lockdown, Tiong said it was an unavoidable situation.
“It’s the same with our people who were stranded in China when Malaysia was on lockdown.
“I met some who travelled to China and only managed to return three years later.
“We gave them the opportunity to return, but the flight tickets were very expensive. A return fight could cost up to RM30,000,” he said, adding that he was en route to meet with the Chinese ambassador to discuss about tourists entering Malaysia.
Meanwhile, commenting on digitising of tourism promotion, Tiong said it is too expensive if the ministry focused entirely on digital platforms.
“Although technology has improved, but we still want to use conventional platforms, because certain areas are unreachable if we only use digital platforms.
“Also the other things is if we only depend on digital platforms, it is expensive. So we still want our travel agencies to help us market the country’s leisure destinations,” he said.