Immigration Matters

COVID-19

The Malaysian government declared on January 1, 2021 that the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) will be extended until March 31, 2021. The Malaysian authorities will have to consider whether or not to extend the RMCO past this date.

Foreign nationals are banned from entering Malaysia under the RMCO, with the exception of those with certain forms of residency visas and job passes.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister declared expanded and varying restrictions for various states on 11 January 2021, which will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 13th, for a two-week duration ending on January 26th, 2021.

Up-to-date information can be found on local government websites, social media networks, and media reports. The Malaysian authorities will have to decide whether or not to extend the steps past this date.

In Malaysia, cross travel is banned. Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan, Melaka, Johor, and Sabah are all subject to the Movement Control Order (MCO), which forbids inter-district travel within a 10-kilometer radius of your home. To ensure that people obey the rules, police checkpoints have been set up.

Among the other MCO steps are:

    • Each vehicle is limited to two persons.
    • No social events (weddings, religious processions, conferences, in-person meetings/seminars, or community sports activities) are allowed.
    • Each household is permitted to send two people out to go grocery shopping or get medical supplies.
    • Only five vital economic sectors are authorised to operate (manufacturing, construction, services, trade and distribution, plantation and commodities).
    • Programs that aren’t completely required Employees will be allowed to operate from home.
    • Restaurants and food stalls are only available for take-out and delivery between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Under the RMCO, entry to Malaysia by foreign nationals is prohibited, except for those holding certain categories of residence visas and employment passes

For information on Entry and Exit passes for those holding certain categories of Employment Passes (e.g. EP1 and RP-T, long-term social visit passes) please consult the Expatriate Services Division website Malaysian Immigration Department.

Know that as a visitor, you must abide by all local rules, and it is your duty to do so. Be mindful of local customs, beliefs, and activities, as your behavior can be interpreted as unacceptable, aggressive, or even illegal.

Local Culture

  • Malaysia is a multicultural nation with a majority Islamic community. You should always respect local traditions, customs, rules, and religions, and be mindful of your acts to ensure that they do not offend, especially during Ramadan or if you plan to visit religious sites.
  • In conservative and rural regions, as well as when attending places of worship, you should dress modestly.
  • The importation of unlicensed weapons and explosives into Malaysia is illegal and punishable by death.

LGBT

Homosexual acts are illegal.

Illegal drugs

Both drug violations, including amphetamine-type stimulants, bring strict punishments. Human trafficking is punishable by imprisonment. Possession carries a jail term as well as the threat of whipping.

If you are accused of using illegal drugs prior to your visit, Malaysian authorities may require you to take a urine test when you arrive.

Driving

If you want to drive, you should:

    • Carry your original driver’s license, as well as sufficient and reasonable insurance.
    • Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime that can result in a prison term and/or a hefty fine for those who reach the legal limit. In Malaysia, breath testing is common.
    • Motorcyclists do not always stop at pedestrian crossings or traffic lights, so be careful. If you’re driving, keep an eye out for motorcycles overtaking on the inside as you make a left turn.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re renting a car, we don’t suggest handing over your passport as a means of protection. Keep your passport in your sight at all times if you’re authorizing it to be photocopied.

Make sure you have sufficient protection and read the fine print of the car rental agreement (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

 

 

Political unrest and the threat of kidnapping

Demonstrations

Tensions between the Malaysian government and the opposition have culminated in protests in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere on occasion. We recommend that you stay away from all protests and keep up with local news.

Crime

Malaysia has a low crime rate, but bag snatching by robbers on motorcycles is becoming more popular in Kuala Lumpur’s central tourist areas. To protect yourself from street crime, you should be cautious and take appropriate precautions.

    • Leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place and don’t bring your credit card, travel tickets, and money together.
    • Bring your passport only when absolutely necessary, and leave a copy of it (along with your travel and insurance documents) at home with family or friends.
    • Avoid flashing large quantities of cash in public and avoid using ATMs after dark, particularly if you are alone. After you’ve completed your service, make sure no one has followed you.
    • Keep a close eye on your belongings and keep them safe in public places like internet cafes, train stations, and bus stations.
    • Ignore dim and unlit streets and stairwells, and make plans to be picked up or dropped off as near as possible to your hotel or apartment entrance.
    • There have been many accounts of gambling and alcohol spiking scams that have resulted in theft and abuse.
    • In the area, credit card fraud and ATM scams are common, so be careful when making payments and withdrawing cash from ATM machines.
    • Avoid opening your hotel room door to strangers, as you would in other countries, particularly if you are a woman traveling alone.

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Malaysia, report it to the local police immediately.

Flooding

From November to March, the Northeast Monsoon brings heavy rains, particularly to Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast states and western Sarawak. This can result in extreme and dangerous flooding.

Pollution

Smoke haze wreaks havoc on Malaysia’s air quality during the year. With the arrival of the monsoon season, this changes. Owing to land and forest fires, as well as the persistent hot, dry weather, air pollution is currently worse than average for this time of year in a number of states. You should keep an eye on the Malaysian Department of Environment’s website for air quality alerts and follow any health warnings.

Volcanoes

On the morning of June 5, 2015, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Sabah. This had an influence on Mount Kinabalu. For more information, visit the Sabah tourism website, and keep an eye on local media for updates.

Health 

Malaysia has wide public and private hospital network. Before traveling to Malaysia, you can seek medical advice on vaccines and other preventative measures against various tropical diseases, as well as tuberculosis and hepatitis A and B.

Dengue fever

Dengue fever is present in all Malaysian states, and you should use insect repellent and cover up to avoid mosquito bites, particularly when in jungle areas or near river water. This year, the number of dengue cases has risen drastically, especially in Kuala Lumpur.