Malaysia closed to tourists until December

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 September 2020: Malaysia looks ahead giving travellers warning that the country’s Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) that maintains strict travel restrictions will remain in place until 31 December 2020.

Initially, the RMCO was due to expire 31 August.

As long as the RMCO is in place foreigners who have a ‘social visit pass’ (tourist visa) that expired after 1 January 2020 will be permitted to leave Malaysia without incurring any fines or penalties. The concession does not apply to social visit passes that expired before 1 January 2020.

Neighbouring Thailand gave foreigners a much shorter grace period that ends on 26 September. Foreigners will need to apply for a visa extension or leave Thailand to avoid penalties by the deadline.

Travel to Malaysia will continue to have strict controls with foreigners needing to obtain a Letter of Undertaking and Indemnity’ approved by the nearest Malaysian consulate or embassy in addition to an appropriate visa. However, leisure travellers will not be permitted to visit Malaysia as long as the RMCO is in place. Entry is limited to travellers who have families in Malaysia and for essential travel linked to business and investment activities.

All travellers who are permitted to enter Malaysia must undertake mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Thailand follows similar protocols, strictly applying the 14-quarantine rule but offering travellers arriving in Bangkok what it calls “alternative state quarantine” in certified hotels that are linked to hospitals. They charge around THB70,000 to 50,000 for the 14-day stay, including three meals a day and Covid-19 tests.

Thailand is currently confusing overseas tour operators with contradictory statements by leaders who in the space of a few days suggest they are opening the borders gradually to limited travel and then contradict themselves just days later by suggesting the opposite.

There are various programmes bandied about by the media, but due to the 14-day quarantine rule, they would appeal only to long-stay visitors (six months or more) repeat travellers who are prepared to buy into expensive schemes to return to Thailand.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Just an FYI. I am a Canadian who recently left Malaysia on Sep 1 after almost six months. My social visit pass expired in June. I had no problem exiting the country – just had to fill out a “Form B” stating why I left Malaysia after my 90 day visa expired. I just wrote “MCO” and it was fine. I took the Turkish Airlines flight mentioned above via Istanbul to London. No problems. Flight was about 80% full, Istanbul airport was surprisingly busy, London Gatwick was virtually empty. After staying in the UK for a few days I caught a cheap TAP (Portugal airlines) flight to Toronto, Canada via Lisbon. Upon arrival in Toronto I had to do a 14 day quarantine and am now “free” again. The whole experience was not as bad as I was expecting. Just follow the usual precautions and you should be fine.

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