Ministry exploring city-to-city tourism option in reopening Malaysia’s tourist spots to world

Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri was in Parliament yesterday, armed with a songket file.

It was perhaps a signal by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister to Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, to allow lawmakers to don Malaysian batik in the august house.

Nancy with her songket file in Parliament yesterday.

The duo met briefly on Monday over the matter. However, batik wasn’t the only thing on her mind yesterday.

Nancy and her crew at the ministry are also thinking of ways to start attracting tourists back to the country.

She recently engaged with the 33 Tourism Malaysia directors worldwide, wanting to find out more about the situation in their respective countries.

Waiting for the borders to fully reopen to tourism may take a while. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, in the Dewan Rakyat today, said the government would not arbitrarily open the borders to tourists, and that every decision made would be based on the advice and recommendations by the Health Ministry.

As such, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is exploring the option of city-to-city travel.

Such a travel bubble would enable tourists from green zones abroad to travel to green tourist spots in Malaysia.

“The discussion with the 33 directors was also to see the health situation in the respective countries where they are based, and how tourism is being carried out there,” said a ministry official who declined to be named.

“Once a detailed feedback is obtained, we will then present the findings to the other relevant ministries. Announcements, if any, will have to be made at least three to four months in advance, to ensure there are adequate flights to these destinations, and that the tourist destinations are ready to receive travellers.

“For example, there could be a Doha-Langkawi travel bubble. But that’s just an example. The option is still being explored.”

There have also been conversations about opening up other tourism spots in the country, among others, in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

However, the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in Singapore could throw a spanner in the works. Indonesia, which was supposed to launch its travel bubble with Singapore this month, cancelled the plan.

“We have to give Langkawi some time, but we can’t be living like this forever. Tourism has to restart, but in a structured and organised fashion, to ensure the safety of all … tourists, those within the tourism industry, and the local populace,” added another ministry official.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights.

DISCUSSIONS ON BANNING SALE OF LIQUOR IN KL ONGOING

Discussions on the ban of the sale of liquor in sundry, grocery shops, Chinese medicine shops and convenience stores in Kuala Lumpur have yet to be finalised.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told the Dewan Rakyat that he had held several meetings, including with Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, to get views on the liquor licence guidelines.

“The meetings are still on-going … we need to think, not only about the sellers, but also the buyers. The ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ government respects Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.

If the ban was enforced, liquor can still be purchased at hotels, pubs, bars and stores that exclusively sell alcohol.

AHMAD MASLAN NOW SAYS ‘NO’ TO DEPUTY SPEAKER’S POST

Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan withdrew his nomination for the post of Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker.

He revealed this at a press conference at the Parliament building. The Pontian MP said the decision was made to ensure he was able to focus on his duties as Umno secretary-general, given the political uncertainty.

“I love giving opinions. If I were to sit in the deputy speaker’s chair, what can I say? Just tell people to sit, to leave … I won’t be able to function as an MP,” he said.

He said the decision was made following discussions with key Umno leaders.

The post of the deputy speaker fell vacant after Pengerang MP, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, resigned on Aug 23.

MACC TO MEET IDRIS HARON REGARDING PROJECT MONOPOLY IN MELAKA

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is zooming in on the allegations made by former Sungai Udang assemblyman Datuk Seri Idris Haron, following his claims of economic project monopoly and sand royalty payments in Melaka.

The anti-graft body, in a statement, said it would send its officers to meet Idris to get more details about the matter.

The commission also urged those with information to come forward.

Idris claimed several Umno leaders were monopolising projects and allegedly cheating the Federal government, with regard to sand royalties. As a result, Idris and three other lawmakers withdrew their support for the Melaka government.

BAM PROMOTES JUNIOR SHUTTLERS TO STRENGTHEN WOMEN’S SQUAD

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has promoted five junior shuttlers into the national senior women’s singles squad, with immediate effect.

The five are Joanne Ng (aged 18), Tan Zhing Yi (18), Khor Jing Wen (18), Loh Zhi Wei (18) and Uber Cup 2020 squad member, Siti Nurshuhaini Azman (17).

BAM’s management committee said the decision was made to address the need for a bigger talent pool in the senior women’s singles squad, with the objective of strengthening the department.

The five players will be trained by national women’s singles head coach, Indra Widjaja, and Loh Wei Sheng.

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