MALAYSIAN tourism authorities, overwhelmed by protests from Indians and Sri Lankans over a restrictive visa entry process, say they are seriously considering relaxing the policies.
“I will send recommendation on the need to relax the visa rules,” said Daljit Singh, member of Tourism Malaysia’s board of directors, during a press conference in Colombo last week.
He was responding to comments that while Malaysia wants to welcome as many visitors as possible, its visa process for Indians and Sri Lankans remain highly restrictive.
“We were told in India too that the visa process was restrictive and (we) need to look into this (as a matter of urgency),” added Daljit.
At current, visitors to Malaysia have to submit documents such as bank details, employer’s letter and business registration, among others. Meanwhile, visa fees have sharply risen since the process was outsourced to an agency in 2014.
South Asia is an important source for Malaysia, but arrivals from India and Sri Lanka have dropped significantly last year to 722,141 and 51,337 respectively, from 770,108 and 61,670 in 2014.
“We want to increase or retain the earlier numbers,” said Daljit.