PETALING JAYA,Sept 4: DAP’s Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming today called on the government to rethink its blanket ban on travellers from “red zone” countries and suggested that SOPs be strengthened for these visitors instead.

This comes after Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced a ban on incoming travellers from a number of countries, including India, Indonesia and the Philippines, which was later extended to countries with more than 150,000 Covid-19 cases.

In a statement today, Ong described this benchmark as “arbitrary”, saying it failed to take into account recovery numbers, whether a country’s infection rate is decreasing and whether passport holders from banned countries may have been recently living in countries with fewer than 150,000 cases.

The ban would potentially separate foreign nationals working legally in Malaysia from their families indefinitely.

It could also have negative economic ramifications as it would affect ties with foreign investors.

“Many ongoing foreign direct investment (FDI) projects will be negatively affected by this blanket ban. This includes projects by companies from countries such as the US, France, Germany and the UK,” Ong said.

“New FDI opportunities will also be prevented from taking place if high-level executives from these countries are not allowed to enter Malaysia to evaluate the possibility of setting up manufacturing facilities.”

Ong suggested that rather than stop visitors from entering the country, they should be subject to stricter SOPs.

“For example, any foreign national with valid documents to enter Malaysia but are travelling from a red zone area or country should be required to take a Covid-19 test before entering Malaysia.

“He or she should undergo the proper quarantine process of 14 days (or more) and be verified as Covid-19 free before being allowed to work and live among the population here,” he said.


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