“Don’t overreact to arrival of Chinese tourists,” Tiong warns Malaysians

TOURISM, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has warned the public to not overreact to Chinese tourists arriving to Malaysia following a surge of COVID-19 infections in China.

According to the Bintulu MP, the Government was always aware of the current COVID-19 situation in the country and for the time being, it was still not necessary to impose restrictions, improve standard operating procedures (SOPs) or impose special controls on tourists arriving from the Chinese mainland.

“I’m asking the people not to overreact… I think it is unfair to impose special controls on Chinese tourists,” he told reporters after attending a Chinese New Year lighting-up ceremony at Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“(Based on data) a total of 10.9 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in China and if we look at the US, it has reached 99 million (cases).

“So, if we want to take action (on tourists) it should be against (tourists arriving from) the US. The (US’) death rate has also reached 1.08 million cases but in China, it is only at 36,000. However, the Government is monitoring (the situation).”

Tiong further urged Malaysians to continue prioritising their health in addition to maintaining SOPs to curb the spread of COVID-19 especially now that the country’s tourism sector has fully resumed operations.

He previously warned that Malaysia will lose out on at least RM30 bil in tourist dollars this year if it discriminates against visitors from China.

He said Chinese nationals had a vaccination rate of over 90% and were not singled out by countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia that the Chinese tourists would opt for instead.

The ministry is expecting some six million Chinese tourists this year, up from the estimated three million in 2019 which earned the country some RM15.3 bil in revenue.

Malaysia, Tiong pointed out, had been receiving a steady number of tourist arrivals from the US, Japan, Korea and France – countries with high number of cases but not discriminated against.

He noted that taking into consideration China’s 1.4 billion population, the death toll is only 0.00002% while Malaysia’s confirmed cases are 5.02 million with 36,824 deaths (on Jan 5), which is 0.7%.

“The ratio of infected patients in Malaysia is 14.8% when China is 0.7% … we have half the infection rate of China,” he said. – Jan 13, 2023


Main photo credit: Malay Mail

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