Malaysia visit still requires a visa
MALAYSIA is keeping its visa requirements for Myanmar citizens in place for the foreseeable future, Malaysian ambassador to Myanmar Mohd Haniff Abd Rahman has confirmed.
It is possible that, in future, Myanmar nationals will be granted hurdlefree entry, he told The Myanmar Times last month, but that will not be any time soon because of issues related to illegal migrant workers and national security concerns.
“We are considering the possibilities but the Malaysian government is facing an overload of migrant workers, especially from Myanmar,” he said. “We do not want to open up to a flood of illegal workers.”
Myanmar has already signed visa exemption memoranda of understanding with Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines, making Malaysia the only remaining ASEAN country that still requires Myanmar citizens to pay for a visa application, which is US$57.
Starting last month, Malaysia granted 30-day, single-entry visas for a few countries, including Myanmar. ASEAN member states have been discussing a visa-free travel arrangement since 2006, but to little avail.
The Myanmar Times reached out to several travel agencies and two of them confirmed that they do not provide tour packages to Malaysia unless customers specifically ask for one because there is already a third-party company providing Malaysian visas. Additionally, the travel rates to other ASEAN countries, like Singapore, are higher than to Malaysia.
“Granting the e-visa makes it slightly easier for travellers,” said 7 Days travel company president Daw Hla Darli Khin, “However, we do not provide package services to Malaysia unless people asked for it.”
Starting in December, Myanmar citizens will be able to travel to Singapore for up to 30 days on a free tourist visa. Anyone looking to travel there for reasons other than tourism, like business or medical treatment, will need to apply for a different visa, according to the deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Consular and Legal Affairs Department, U Okkar.
A 2016 report on visa restrictions ranked Myanmar 10th from the bottom of the list, tying it with North Korea and Burundi.