Government should strengthen its SOPs and allow foreigners from ‘red zones’ with valid reasons and proper documents to enter Malaysia after undergoing a proper quarantine process.
There are currently 23 countries which have more than 150,000 recorded COVID 19 cases. While securing our borders to prevent unexpected increases in the number of COVID 19 cases is of utmost importance, the threshold of 150,000 cases seems arbitrary. It doesn’t take into account the number of recovered cases and also active cases in a country. It doesn’t take into account COVID 19 trends in a country which may be increasing or decreasing. It doesn’t take into account that passport holders from these 23 countries may have NOT been staying in their home countries but in countries with less than 150,000 recorded cases. It also doesn’t take into account foreign nationals who are NOT from one of the 23 countries but may have spent some time recently in one of these 23 countries.
There are also economic reasons why this blanket ban should be reconsidered. Malaysia has done well in keeping the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at a low level over the past months. The Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, has said that the Malaysian economy remains competitive and open for business. He also announced a number of investment incentives under the PENJANA economic recovery package in June 2020. Many ongoing FDI projects will be negatively affected by this blanket ban, which includes countries such as the United States, France, Germany, the UK and India which are high FDI countries of destination for investments in Malaysia. Foreign professionals and expatriates will not be able to come to Malaysia to finish setting up manufacturing facilities and to oversee the running of these operations. New FDI opportunities would also be prevented from taking place if high level executives from these countries are not allowed to enter Malaysia to evaluate the possibility of setting up manufacturing facilities, shared service centers of excellence and data centers in Malaysia, just to name a few examples. Even citizens with passports from one these 23 countries who may be working from their regional HQs in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan or China, all of which have less than 150,000 cases, would also be prevented from entering Malaysia.
Please note that I am NOT calling for ALL citizens from these 23 countries to be allowed to travel to Malaysia. Instead, I am calling for the strengthening of our own SOPs if transmissions from countries in ‘red zones’ are a concern. For example, any foreign national with valid documents to enter Malaysia but are travelling from a red zone area or country should be required to take a COVID 19 test BEFORE entering Malaysia. And he or she should undergo the proper quarantine process of 14 days (or more) and be verified as COVID 19 free before being allowed to work and live among the population here. Our policy response towards the COVID 19 pandemic should be based on facts and proper data and should be explained clearly. By doing this, we can protect our borders, ensure that families are not inhumanely separated and increase Malaysia’s economic competitiveness.
- https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/01/covid-19-entry-into-m039sia-barred-for-travellers-from-india-indonesia- philippines