KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — The announcement on the reopening of Malaysia’s international borders to quarantine-free travel for vaccinated travellers from April 1, 2022, is long awaited and welcomed by the aviation industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said today.

“It is a good step forward, as aviation provides the needed connections and linkages to facilitate commerce, trade and the movement of people. This will allow Malaysia to reap the social and economic benefits of aviation given its contribution to jobs and Gross Domestic Product,” IATA regional vice president for Asia Pacific, Philip Goh, said in a statement.

He said IATA hopes that in the next phase of opening, the Malaysian government will replace polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing with antigen rapid test (ART) testing for pre-departure testing initially, and eventually do away with pre-departure and post-arrival testing for all vaccinated passengers.

“In the last few weeks, we have seen an encouraging momentum in the Asia-Pacific region to ease travel restrictions. Australia, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam have variously taken steps forward to lower the barriers to international travel,” Goh noted.

“We urge other major states such as Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea to accelerate the further easing of travel restrictions, to maximise the benefits that aviation can bring to their economies,” he added.

IATA represents some 290 airlines which account for 83 per cent of global air traffic.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the country’s borders will be fully reopened on April 1.

He said this is in line with the plan on entering the Transition to Endemic Phase as well as announcements to revive the overall national economy, especially the tourism industry which has been hit by the pandemic. 

“With the reopening of the country’s borders, Malaysians with valid travel documents can now leave and enter the country as usual and are allowed to travel to any country which also opens its borders to foreign travellers.

“At the same time, foreign visitors with valid travel documents are also able to move in and out of the country without applying for MyTravelPass which has been repealed,” he told a special media conference at Parliament Building here today.

He said members of the public only need to download and activate the MySejahtera application and complete the Pre-Departure Form via the Traveller function in the MySejahtera application. — Bernama