I have expressed my concern over the number of daily Covid-19 cases and thus, it is still not the time to lift the interstate travel ban between Sarawak and other states in a bid to revive the tourism industry. Even if the ban was lifted, people would still be reluctant to travel due to restrictions that have been put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
I have mentioned this to our local media friends yesterday and it is not appropriate to open our borders because even if you open the borders, I don’t think travellers or foreigners will be coming due to the restrictions in place, such as the requirement to be quarantined first.
I have spoken on this issue to the media who asked for my comments on former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s appeal to the government to lift the travel ban between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak in order to revive the tourism industry in the eastern states.
As much as I would love to see the opening of borders, where foreigners and those from other states could visit to boost the tourism industry, we must also assess the Covid-19 situation we are facing, with daily new cases being in the thousands registered in Malaysia. Sarawak through our SOP had insisted on the placing of individuals entering the state in hotels for their mandatory quarantine procedures as part of our efforts to assist the hard-battered hotel industry by increasing their room occupancy rate.
However, through our Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture as well as Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) we would be launching new tourism programmes to promote tourism in the state once the Covid-19 situation comes under control.