Sabah relaxes travel restrictions in time for Christmas

State minister Masidi Manjun said ‘it is about time everybody is given a chance to come back’.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has relaxed its entry restrictions for Malaysians and non-citizens with long-term passes to enter the state starting tomorrow.

They would only need to show they have tested negative from a Covid-19 swab test three days before they travel.

Local Government and Housing Minister Masidi Manjun said only those who tested negative and who do not show symptoms of the virus are allowed in.

“This is part of our effort to get things back to how it used to be but in phases,” he said, during his Covid-19 briefing today.

“This is also to normalise the travelling between the peninsula and Sabah. There are many in Sabah with family members (in the peninsula) and Christians will also celebrate Christmas later this month.

“It’s about time everyone is given a chance to come back and this does not only mean for tourism.”

Those to be allowed in on social visit passes are domestic travellers who hold either a MyKad, MyPR or MyKAS (temporary resident identity card); non-citizens holding long-term immigration passes; and spouses of Sabahans and their dependents.

Masidi, who is Sabah’s official Covid-19 spokesman, said non-citizens without long-term passes are required to seek special approval from the state government.

He added those allowed to visit will not be required to get police permission to exit Sabah.

Asked whether those coming in would be allowed to travel to other districts considering the inter-district travel ban still in effect, Masidi said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob is expected to make an announcement on the matter tomorrow.

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“My statement today and his tomorrow could be interconnected. But I believe when you allow West Malaysians to come over, I’m sure it’s not just to be in Kota Kinabalu,” he said.

He pointed out nothing much had changed over the travel restrictions, only the categories of people allowed to enter.

“There has always been travelling between KL and KK but the authorities were somewhat quite strict as they only allowed certain types of travel.

“What we’re saying now is we feel we should allow more people to travel.”

Towards this end, Masidi was not worried there would be a flood of people coming in.

“We (in Sabah) are still cautious, others are too. Although we open our gates, if people think it’s still too risky, I don’t think there will be an immediate flooding. And everything is also subject to the current health SOPs,” he said.

Masidi also announced that the closing time for eateries has been extended from 10pm to 12am starting tomorrow.



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