Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Still not the right time to lift interstate travel ban

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.

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