KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Capital A Bhd CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes urged governments in the region to “be brave” and reopen their country’s borders for the sake of people’s livelihoods and economies.

The United Kingdom’s national broadcaster BBC said he made the comments at the Singapore Airshow, which is taking place this week in the island city-state after a two-year hiatus.

It also said in its report that cross-border tourism accounted for 12 per cent of South-east Asia’s GDP in 2019.

“It’s time to take a deep breath and assess the facts... Having borders closed isn’t logical anymore because Omicron is in society

“Now we have to protect people’s livelihoods and economies,” he was quoted as saying to the BBC.

Fernandes also called for more public health measures to end, so that people can move on from the virus.

“To me, opening our borders means no quarantine, no form-filling, no constant testing.

“It’s time to move on and get on with our lives,” he added.

Earlier this month, Fernandes called for a more sustainable approach to aid the region’s aviation industry to recover from the impact of pandemic-driven movement restrictions.

He said that travel restrictions made sense in the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, but that Malaysia has since learned to live with the virus.

On Monday, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said various factors must be evaluated before Malaysia’s tourism sector and international borders can be allowed to fully reopen without the implementation of travel bubbles.

She said that thorough study and preparations, including discussions with the tourism ministries in other countries, were among her ministry’s ongoing efforts.

On February 8, the National Recovery Council (NRC) proposed to the government that the country’s borders should fully reopen on March 1, without requiring mandatory quarantine.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, however, said nothing had been decided yet and the matter remained at the discussion stage among the relevant government agencies, ministries and Cabinet.