Abdul Karim welcomes full border reopening to boost Sarawak’s economic recovery

File photo for illustration purposes only. Photo credit: Pixabay

KUCHING, Feb 9: The full reopening of Malaysia’s international borders to all vaccinated travellers without compulsory quarantine will give a big boost to Sarawak’s economic recovery efforts.

Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this in welcoming the National Recovery Council’s (NCR) proposal for the full reopening of the country’s borders as early as March.

“The NCR recommendations augur well for the speedy recovery of Malaysia’s various economic sectors which have been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially the tourism and hospitality industry.

“The reopening of Malaysia’s international borders by March without mandatory quarantine would hasten our National Recovery Plan (NRP) and boost Sarawak’s Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 implementation,” he said in a statement today.

Abdul Karim emphasised that Sarawak was not spared from the significant impact of Covid-19 as billions of ringgit in revenue streams from the tourism and hospitality industry were lost in the past two years which could have contributed to the local economy and supported the livelihood of those working in downstream industries.

“The full border reopening will be welcomed by industry players all over because it is crucial for economic recovery and a rebound in the tourism and hospitality industry in which our people will also gain the benefits.

“Our local folks are looking forward to welcoming back foreign visitors who are eager to spend their tourism dollars after two years of not being able to enjoy travelling and vacationing in holiday destinations like Sarawak and Malaysia,” he said.

Abdul Karim, who is also the Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development, pointed out that the full border reopening will also benefit Sarawak’s medical tourism industry which had a promising outlook which prompted the establishment of many private healthcare institutions in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.

Abdul Karim shared that according to the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM), medical tourism contributed about RM1.7 billion to the Malaysian economy in 2019.

To facilitate the reopening of Sarawak’s borders, he emphasised the need to educate and raise greater awareness on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by Ministry of Health (MOH) and Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) among global travellers.

“There must also be concerted efforts by the industry players to ensure only fully vaccinated visitors including (those with) booster dose can enter to prevent and minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection spreading,” he said. — DayakDaily