Transport minister moots travel within region for those already vaccinated against Covid-19

Wee said that the matter will be discussed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a code or certificate be accepted by neighbouring countries. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Wee said that the matter will be discussed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a code or certificate be accepted by neighbouring countries. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said that a universal certification may be issued to those who have been vaccinated to ease travel restrictions and revive the aviation sector within the South-east Asian region.

He said that the matter will be discussed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a code or certificate be accepted by neighbouring countries, the News Straits Times reported.

“I’ve discussed this with the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and the Health Ministry. We need a certification for those who have been vaccinated.

“My Singapore counterpart also contacted me and asked whether we can issue a universal certification,” he said.

He also said that the authorities will take follow up actions to ensure those arriving via the airports follow the country’s standard operating procedures (SOP).

“While for Malaysians serving in other countries, they would no longer need to be quarantined. This will revive the aviation industry in the region,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said that vaccine passport or certificate could be a good start to boost the travel industry in the short and medium term, The Star reported.

“It should be able to facilitate and restore confidence in travel. However, there is a need for reciprocated arrangements with other countries,” he said.

He, however, said that they were of the view that vaccination should not be made mandatory for travellers as certain groups like children could not be vaccinated.

Malaysian Tourism Council president and Malaysian Inbound Tourism chief executive Uzaidi Udanis raised concern that the country could be left behind compared to others in the region.

He said that industry players might want to make sure tourists are healthy before they enter the country and noted that MySejahtera application could be made mandatory for use by travellers in the country.

“I hope Malaysia would keep up with other countries as the whole rollout here is expected to be only completed early next year.

“I am afraid we may lose out if not enough of our citizens are vaccinated. Others governments may prefer to only allow their citizens to countries that have expedited the vaccination,” he said.

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