Malaysia will soon open its borders and would ease the process of travelling, especially for Malaysians who are residing overseas, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said the Omicron-variant that hit the country in early February has delayed the country’s plan to move into the endemic stage, thus delaying the process of reopening its borders.
“We almost announced that Malaysia has entered the endemic stage but in December 2021 the Omicron variant, which is a super spreader was detected.”
“However, Omicron is not as bad as Delta. It spreads quickly but is not as dangerous as Delta,” he said at the Keluarga Malaysia dinner in Cambodia held on Wednesday (23 February) night, reported Bernama.
Meanwhile, Ismail said Malaysians will eventually need to learn to live with Covid-19.
“We have to accept it as any other disease such as dengue,” he said.
Ismail mentioned that Malaysia has been recording about 27,000 new Covid-19 daily recently, but a majority of the cases are of Category 1 and 2, thanks to the high vaccination rate in the country.
“I know a lot of you are eager to come back home. I understand some of you have not gone back home for almost 2 years.”
”So we will start opening our borders to the whole world soon and you can return to Malaysia.”
It was reported that about 5,000 Malaysians are living in Cambodia, with 2,000 of them living in the capital Phnom Penh.
Ismail then stressed the importance of opening the country’s borders because many have been affected by the closure since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, especially those in the tourism sector.
“As such, we will reopen it. Restrictions on people’s movement have a huge impact on everyone,” he said.
Previously, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said early in the second quarter of this year will be a realistic timeline for the Malaysian borders to reopen.
“The Health Ministry will come up with the standard operating procedure (SOP) for border reopening, and there are several stages to go through for it to be approved.”
“I will present the SOP to the Covid-19 pandemic management committee, which is chaired by the Prime Minister and to the quartet of ministers led by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.”
“Finally, I will present it to the Cabinet for the approval as it involves a huge national policy, as the decision to open up the country’s borders is not under the Health Ministry,” he said.