Malaysia Reopens Border on Apr 1st: What Travellers Need to Know
Malaysia’s international border will finally be reopened on Apr 1st after being closed for two years since Mar 18th, 2020. This announcement was made on Mar 8th by the Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Mr. Ismail Sabri said in a press conference on Mar 8th that the reopening of the border is under the “Transition to Endemic Phase”. Along with the announcement, the government will also lift some COVID-19 restrictions on the business operating hours, employee capacity and religious venues capacity.
Despite that, the spread of COVID-19’s Omicron variant in Malaysia and other countries urges everyone to remain cautious. Hence, Malaysians and foreign travellers entering the country will have to follow some protocols as required by the government. That said, the travel restrictions will be loosened.
Here’s what travellers need to know about the borders reopening:
What are the health protocols for foreigners entering Malaysia?
Starting from Apr 1st, foreigners entering Malaysia will only require valid travel documents. Foreigners no longer have to apply for entry via the MyTravelPass mechanism. However, the MySejahtera contact tracing application is still a must to be downloaded by foreigners. A pre-departure form in the app must be filled prior to departure.
Fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to undergo quarantine upon entering Malaysia. They only need to undergo a COVID-19 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test two days before departure and a professional COVID-19 rapid test kit-antigen (RTK-Ag) test within 24hours after arrival in Malaysia.
For partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers, a five-day quarantine will be compulsory after arriving in Malaysia, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. Nevertheless, the quarantine period has been shortened from the original period of 10 days.
“Once they have completed the quarantine, the individual must adhere to the conditions set by the Malaysian government. For example, they cannot dine at restaurants if they are not fully vaccinated,” the minister said.
For travellers who are unvaccinated due to health reasons, they are required to upload proof of their exemption, such as a doctor’s letter, into the MySejahtera app.
“The exemption will be evaluated by the Health Ministry to determine its authenticity. After the evaluation is complete and it is determined to be authentic, they will obtain a health exemption,” Mr. Khairy added.
Travellers that have entered Malaysia in the last week of March will be released from quarantine on Apr 1st, the minister said. Currently, a quarantine period of five days is still required for travellers who have taken their booster doses, and seven days for those vaccinated but without booster doses.
Moreover, children and teenagers under the age of 17 will also be given a quarantine-free entry, regardless of their vaccination status.
Similar to the others, they are also required to undergo a pre-departure RT-PCR and post-arrival RTK-Ag test.
All health protocols can be referred to at https://covidprotocol.moh.gov.my/ , Mr. Khairy added.
What has changed for Malaysians Travelling Overseas?
The protocol for Malaysians travelling overseas is the same as foreign travellers. Malaysians with valid travel documents are free to travel to countries which have also opened their international borders.
Upon returning to Malaysia, fully vaccinated Malaysians do not need to undergo quarantine. However, they still have to perform a pre-departure RT-PCR and post-arrival RTK-Ag test.
For countries that still have their international borders closed, Malaysians can utilise the vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) to travel to those countries.
Malaysia has land and air VTLs with Singapore, meanwhile VTLs with Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia are still in the process.
What does this mean for travel between Singapore and Malaysia?
With Malaysia’s announcement, fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore are free to enter Malaysia without quarantine after Apr 1st.
However, upon returning to Singapore, they are required to undergo quarantine imposed by the Singapore government, if they are not travelling via VTL. The daily quota for land VTL between Singapore and Malaysia is 4,320 people for both ways, whereas the quota for air VTL has not been disclosed.
On Mar 8th, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said it is working with its Malaysian counterparts to allow vaccinated travellers to cross the land border using other transport modes.
As for Malaysia’s side, Health Minister Mr. Khairy Jamaluddin said the federal government is in discussions with states that have international borders as well as neighbouring countries on the issue.
Therefore, details on international land travel will be disclosed next week once the discussions have reached a conclusion. He added that the protocols need to have distinction between leisure travellers and periodic commuters.