KL safe for tourists, minister says after Australia terror warning

Tourism minister Nazri Aziz: Business as usual. — File picture by Choo Choy May
Tourism minister Nazri Aziz: Business as usual. — File picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — All areas in Malaysia’s capital is safe for tourists to visit, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today after Canberra advised Australians heading this way to be on the alert for terrorism.

Earlier today, the Australian government posted a travel advisory on its website that terrorists may be planning attacks in and around Kuala Lumpur.

In response, Nazri said the practice of issuing a travel advisory is “not abnormal” and that local authorities are working round the clock and beefing up security amid reports of potential terror attacks.

“This is something which is not abnormal, although it is within their right to warn their citizens, we give our assurance that our country is safe, security is tight,” Nazri told Malay Mail Online today.

“This is normal… the travel warning will not affect tourists from visiting KL, or Malaysia.

“Last year, in spite of floods, haze, so many issues, 26 million tourists came, and we are expecting the numbers to increase this year,” the Padang Rengas MP added.

City police chief Commissioner Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa said there were no indications of any imminent attacks by terrorists, The Star Online reported.

“We have not received any intelligence to indicate a terror threat.

“We are on constant vigilance and security has been increased over the past few months. The city is safe from any terror threat so far,” he was quoted telling the news portal when contacted for response today.

International business wire Bloomberg reported the Australian government saying attackers may target Western interests or locations frequented by Westerners.

The UK also warned its citizens last week against travel to coastal islands in Sabah’s east coast bordering the Philippines, citing high kidnap and other criminal threats against foreigners.

Australia advises its citizens to exercise normal safety precautions across Malaysia.

It urged them to avoid all travel to the coastal resorts of eastern Sabah, including islands, dive sites and associated tourist facilities owing to the high threat of kidnapping. New Zealand has similarly classified travel to the area as “high risk”.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has defended his administration’s decision to roll out preventive detention laws, saying that legislation is needed to contain the threat of terrorism, chiefly that of the Islamic State.

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