Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen welcomed a proposal to reduce the duration of stay for Visa on Arrival (VOA) holders from one month to just a few days.
"We welcome the proposal as the security of the country is important," Ng told reporters after introducing her new deputy Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit at the Pan Pac Kuala Lumpur International Airport here Saturday.
She was asked to comment on a Bernama report that the government may retort to such action as a means to prevent abuse of such facilities introduced in 2006 in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year, by tourist from other countries.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had on Tuesday said that nearly 40,000 Indian citizens were 'missing' after their VOA expired.
Ng added that the decision on VOA must be briefed to genuine tourists.
"For the genuine tourist, we welcome them. We will assist them in their visa application. We will do it politely. We do not travellers to feel any discomfort or feel not welcomed," she said.
Ng added that her ministry would also work closely with tourism directors stationed overseas to help in profiling would be tourists, to know if they are genuine tourists or not.
"There is a need for us to check the high risk involved in overstaying," said Ng.
However, despite such challenges, Ng remained confident that the ministry's target of 29.65 million tourists arrival would be achievable due to the global economic recovery.
"We received mixed messages on global economy. Australia have the best result, but America' was not very good and we are happy to see Asia doing very well.
"In view of that, we will be focusing on tourists from Asia, especially China, India and new emerging Asean countries like Vietnam and Cambodia," she said.
The ministry would continue to introduce new products like "Malaysia Contemporary Art Festival", "International Shoe Exhibition" and "Flower Parade".
Commenting on a travel advisory issued by the US Embassy yesterday, Ng said: "It is not new. It has been on and off for the past few years, especially in relation to political conflicts here or nearby countries."
The Embassy had advised US tourists to be extra careful when travelling to Sabah, especially to Semporna, Mabul and Sipadan.
Source : Bernama
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