The Malaysian government anticipates that most of the country’s 13 states will move into the final phase four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) in October.
Prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, said the projection is based on the smooth running of the national immunisation programme as well as the government’s efforts to implement the recovery efforts.
The three indicators to be fulfilled for transition into phase four of the NRP are that 80 per cent of the state’s adult population must have been vaccinated, the number of new cases must drop below 500, and the healthcare system is at a safe level with enough beds in ICUs.
In phase four, economic activities such as domestic tourism, performances with live audiences as well as group sporting activities will be allowed.
At the moment, eight states – Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak – are in phase two. Interstate travel is currently banned nationwide to control the spread of Covid-19.
On Monday (July 26), the country reported 14,516 new Covid-19 cases, with a record high of 207 deaths, bringing the national death toll to 8,201.
Earlier this month, in her keynote address at the Halal in Travel Global Summit 2021, tourism, arts and culture minister Nancy Shukri said that Malaysia is exploring the idea of making Langkawi as the pioneer location for the country’s Covid-19 Free Destination Programme, with the successful rollout of vaccinations for the island’s population.
No timeline has been set yet on when domestic and international travel to Langkawi can resume.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has also selected Pangkor Island in Perak to be phase two of the Covid-19 Free Destination Programme, following the pilot destination in Langkawi. It is expected that 80 per cent of Pangkor’s local population of 11,500 would have been fully vaccinated by September, thus achieving herd immunity, and paving the way for the island’s reopening.
Meanwhile, Pahang is also looking at reopening in phases. Tourism areas with small local populations, such as Taman Negara National Park, Tioman Island, Kuala Gandah and Fraser’s Hill, are expected to reopen ahead of other areas with larger populations.
However, no reopening date has been set. One of the main criteria for reopening is that at least 80 per cent of the local population must have been vaccinated, and that there are clear SOPs and guidelines in place.
Pahang State Tourism Exco, Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin, said the state government is in the midst of fine-tuning SOPs and guidelines for the planned reopening, and welcomed feedback from the private sector.
The state is also looking at establishing a travel bubble between Tioman Island and Singapore.