Tour agents can operate during CMCO, but no tourism activities, says Ismail Sabri

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya April 12, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya April 12, 2020. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, May 16 — The government will allow tour agents’ offices to operate for administrative, finance, management and sales purposes during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) period but tourism activities are still prohibited.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said tour agencies can also start planning tourism packages as preparations once the government lifts the ban on tourism activities.

“However, for now, tourism activities are prohibited,” he said at the daily media briefing on CMCO developments here today. 

Asked on complaints that some tourist agencies were not refunding cancelled holiday bookings as a result of the MCO, Ismail Sabri urged both parties to resolve issues through discussions.

“The contract between tourists and agents have nothing to do with the government, but on compassionate grounds, they (agencies) should make the refunds as their clients cancelled bookings because they can’t leave the country due to government policies.

“If they can’t refund, then maybe the (bookings) can be carried forward for a win-win situation for both parties,” Ismail Sabri said, while adding that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) has been asked to assist those in this quandary.

Ismail Sabri also said the government has allowed Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) participants stranded abroad to return to the country beginning tomorrow.

However, he said, each participant must undergo health checks and be declared free of Covid-19 before they are allowed to fly back to Malaysia.

“Upon arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), they need to adhere to all regulations including undergoing health screening and the 14-day mandatory quarantine process with the costs borne by them,” he said.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Nancy Shukri, in a statement earlier today, said there were 253 MM2H participants and their family members who were stranded abroad, as she called on them to be patient and understand the challenges faced by the government in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said the government is also not allowing public transport operators, including ferry and bus operators, to raise fares during the CMCO as fuel prices were still low.

“Normally, when fuel prices go up, fares will too, but when it drops, fares don’t follow suit... we understand they (operators) are carrying half the load than usual, but that is compensated by the current low fuel price,” he said. — Bernama

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