With a new rule banning totally Malaysian returnees, foreigners living in the country and travellers, Malaysia tourism is likely to pay the price for the decision, showing a strong hostility to the rest of the world. All in the name of the protection of its citizens’ health….
Malaysia Minister of Health Adham Baba is a real medical doctor – in contrary to many of his colleagues in other countries- running private clinics in Malaysia. However, his credentials do not mean that he is a qualified politician good at taking decisions.
The covid-19 crisis was a clear demonstration of his ability to act properly. Controversies since the pandemic started involved the minister over his wrong doing when wearing a mask; on March , the minister advised the public that drinking warm water would help prevent covid-19 infection as the virus would be flushed down to the stomach. The claim went viral on social media forcing even the World Health Organization to make a statement proving the absurdity of his words. The Minister has since kept quieter before stating health advices…
This is now the Malaysian Ministry of Defense who steps into the shoes of the Minister of Health. Last Thursday, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yakcop told reporters that the country would totally ban citizens or Malaysian living abroad from countries where covid-19 cases exceed 150,000 infections. That bans as of today 23 nations, among them the largest ones such as the USA, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey or Saudi Arabia. Canada and Qatar -where a high number of tests are conducted- could join soon the list of banned countries.
Malaysia said that the ban is due to the number of imported cases rises. It might be fair but should the country be more balanced on its approach. Covid-19 is certainly a fast spreading virus but the death rate remains extremely low. From over 9,000 declared cases in Malaysia, they were only 129 deceased. As much as for other diseases such as Malaria, dengue or even flues.
And what about testing people before and after arriving to Malaysia? What about the quarantine measures implemented for the ones arriving because they live in the country? In fact, the ban cover even those who hold long-term immigration passes like permanent residents, foreign spouses of Malaysians and those who come under the special expatriate program called “Malaysia My Second Home.”
The radical measure will continue to have tremendous economic consequences for the country and projects a very hostile image of Malaysia towards foreigners. The suspension of the program “Malaysia Second Home” for many countries will probably kill the scheme which was providing to retired foreigners the possibility to stay in a “welcoming” country. International tourism will continue to be virtually dead, actually the biggest victim of covid-19. To cheer up the Malaysian government, other ASEAN countries are doing just the same! They probably all enjoy to see rising unemployment and poverty with all implied consequences on the society…