While other states and local destinations — Melaka, Genting, and Tioman — have decided to hold off on reopening to local tourists until further notice or when Malaysia reaches 90% vaccination rate, Sarawak’s domestic tourism reopens today, 1 October. State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has urged officials not to delay the granting of licences to tourists from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.
Even though police licences and authorisation from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SMDC) is required to monitor access and prevent the spread of COVID-19, he stressed that full cooperation should be offered to people coming in for tourism.
Sarawak’s travel requirements
To obtain a police permit and enter Sarawak with approval, all tourists must have a digital vaccination certificate in their MySejahtera app or original vaccination cards issued by the Health Ministry, as well as submit their flight, accommodation, attraction, and tour package bookings as supporting documents.
He added that all tourists must be completely vaccinated, and children under the age of 17 who are not vaccinated must go with their fully immunised parents. Within three days of arriving in Sarawak, they must also show a negative rt-PCR or rtk-Antigen test result.
So, what’s happening?
Accommodation in hotels and homestays, tourism attractions, arts, culture and heritage premises, special interest tourism, spa, reflexology, massage centres, and pedicure/manicure services are among the permitted tourism activities with compliance to the SOP issued by the State Local Government and Housing Ministry.
He said his ministry has prepared and will execute strategic action plans to re-activate the state’s tourism and business events industry. Other plans include building a more resilient tourism industry post-COVID-19 and he announced that more activities, including tourism activities and tourism attraction products, will be allowed to operate with effect from today onwards subject to compliance of the relevant SOP.
The decision to reopen Sarawak was approved despite recording 26 COVID-19 deaths and the state taking the top spot of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country as of 29 September with 2,967 new daily cases.
As of 29 September, Sarawak was the only state to record more than 2,000 cases, while Selangor had registered 1,362 cases, Johor 1,289, Kelantan 1,125, and Sabah 1,000. All other states and federal territories recorded less than 1,000 cases.
Sarawak’s ICU beds usage at the time was 69% of 165 beds.