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Cabinet Rejects NSC Proposal For Middle Eastern Tourist Visas

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has rejected a proposal by the National Security Council (NSC) to introduce visas for Middle Eastern nationals entering Malaysia.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the decision was made after a thorough discussion at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“We do acknowledge that the Islamic State threat is a serious matter but we decided not to review visa entry methods for Middle Eastern countries.

“The real issue here is enforcement, so we need tighter screening methods at entry points to Malaysia.

“If we are to accept NSC’s suggestion, it means we have to review the entry requirements for all countries, not just the Middle East,” he told a press conference on Wednesday.

Apart from tighter screening, Nazri also gave three other reasons why the proposal was rejected.

“A review of visa requirements is always bilateral, so Malaysia cannot make a unilateral decision regarding this matter.

“Also, Malaysia has good diplomatic relations with friendly nations in the Middle East, all of which are also members of the OIC,” he said.

NSC secretary Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad had recently proposed that the Government consider imposing visa requirements for Middle Eastern nationals, in view of the looming threat of IS.

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