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Malaysia partially reopens borders to expats, medical tourists

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Malaysia will partially reopen its borders to those holding certain employment passes while allowing its citizens to exit the country for emergency, work and study purposes.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia will partially reopen its borders to those holding certain employment passes while allowing its citizens to exit the country for emergency, work and study purposes.

Foreigners earning at least 10,000 ringgit (S$3,255) a month, as well as those holding professional visit passes and resident talent passes with top management positions, may enter Malaysia without needing immigration's approval, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told a press conference on Friday.

Malaysians may travel overseas by showing proof of their travel purpose to immigration officers at airports, he said.

The reopening follows the country's gradual phasing out of lockdown measures that were imposed since March to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Malaysia first allowed most economic sectors to resume operations on May 4 before letting nearly all activities to start on June 10 as the number of new infections eased in recent weeks.

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Those travelling to Malaysia must still undergo Covid-19 tests before departure or upon entering the country, Ismail Sabri said. Foreigners from "green zone" countries Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand and Australia don't need to undergo 14-day home quarantine, but they must use the government's MySejahtera App for monitoring purposes, he said.

The country has also agreed on principle to let citizens of Singapore and Brunei to enter Malaysia without needing immigration approval, coronavirus testing or home quarantine. That agreement is subject to the other countries agreeing to extend the same courtesy to Malaysian citizens, with discussions between foreign ministries still ongoing, he said.

Other relaxations to international borders announced on Friday:

Medical tourists can enter by going through the Health Ministry, registering with the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council and undergoing a Covid-19 test; they must be taken to the hospital immediately and don't require home quarantine.

Technical experts on machines and ships must apply for Professional Visit Pass through the Expatriate Services Division online.

The government is still considering whether to allow foreigners holding other employment pass categories to enter.

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