BEIJING — Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said it is unfair to blame the Immigration Department on Chinese tourists’ reluctance to visit Malaysia due to the visa issue.
He said the visa application and payment of fees was never an issue for Chinese tourists who visit Malaysia.
Instead, he said it involved other factors, including the shortage of flights.
“The visa price is not an obstacle for Chinese tourists coming to Malaysia. There are other more important factors such as the lack of China-Malaysia flights, current issues such as the MH370 and the kidnapping cases in Sabah,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Nur Jazlan is in Beijing for two days to attend the China-ASEAN Ministerial Dialogue on Law Enforcement and Security Cooperation.
He said tourist arrivals from China to Malaysia had showed an increase, even under the old system of the overseas visa or Visa Luar Negara (VLN) and not under the ongoing visa-free program to lure more tourists from China, which began from Oct. 1 and will end on March 31,2016.
Nur Jazlan said before the visa-free program, Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia increased from 823,868 between January and September 2014 to 926,609 in the same period this year.
However, he also expressed concern that the visa-free program would be abused by some unscrupulous individuals, particularly criminals and terrorists.
Earlier on Thursday, the deputy minister also visited the SPPV 1 Stop Center to see the smooth operation of the Malaysian visa application processing center for the people of China coming to Malaysia, which will run for six months.
He said the Group Tourist Registration System could not be implemented as there was no response from the Chinese government, but the visa application process was running smoothly with the existing system.
On the China-ASEAN Ministerial Dialogue, Nur Jazlan said it was aimed at strengthening law enforcement and security cooperation between China and ASEAN member countries. PNA/Bernama