Sarawak minister questions extra steps for visitors after Putrajaya greenlights interstate travel

Abdul Karim said the state government should allow any Malaysian from other states to enter as long as they have received two doses of vaccines. — Picture via Borneo Post Online
Abdul Karim said the state government should allow any Malaysian from other states to enter as long as they have received two doses of vaccines. — Picture via Borneo Post Online

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KUCHING, Oct 11 — Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah today questioned the state Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) for imposing conditions on interstate travel, even after doing away with the police permit requirement.

“I am not happy with the restrictions that the Sarawak government is putting on to enter Sarawak. I don’t see the basis for it.

“The police have already done their part, so why do we need to impose those conditions to enter Sarawak?” he asked at a press conference before flagging off a state-wide expedition by local online news portal DayakDaily’s team D’Drift here.

Abdul Karim was asked to respond to an announcement that Sarawak will open its borders for Malaysians from other states without any need for a police permit from today.

The state secretariat, however, said only fully-vaccinated individuals are allowed to travel to the state.

Individuals who wish to enter Sarawak are still required to submit their applications via EnterSarawak online, together with the proof of their full vaccination status.

The secretariat also added that the individuals must also submit the negative results of their RT-PCR or RTK Antigen tests which are valid for three days and their other related personal details.

Abdul Karim said any form of restriction is a hindrance to tourism, adding that he welcomed the  lifting of the police permit to enter Sarawak.

He said the state government should allow any Malaysian from other states to enter as long as they have received two doses of vaccines.

“If they don’t have the two doses, a letter from the doctor is enough to allow them to enter, like pregnant women or people on medical grounds, and so why do not they have to be fully vaccinated?” he asked.

“You don’t need to have [fulfill] the requirements to enter Sarawak, the way I see it,” he said.

“Now, that the Malaysian government is doing away with the use of MyTravelPass that allows Malaysians to travel overseas, including for tourism purposes, so why is Sarawak still putting all these conditions?” he asked.

He suggested that “somebody in Sarawak just doesn’t like our tourism to boost up”.

He said that the strict conditions to enter Sarawak would impede state tourism in spite of the money that has been poured into building infrastructures such as the Sarawak Tourism Village.

He claimed that he had been flooded with calls from interested tourists who complained of problems applying through the EnterSarawak website.

He added that he has asked the team manning the website to review and resolve weaknesses in the system.

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