KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has said that anyone who received their Covid-19 vaccination elsewhere - both citizens and non-citizens - will need to have their vaccination certificate verified by health authorities upon arrival in the country. The Straits Times helps answer some key questions about the new rule.
Q: What was announced?
A: On Sunday (Sept 5), the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, said that those vaccinated overseas will need to have their vaccination certificate verified by Malaysian health authorities before it can be reflected in Malaysia's contact tracing application MySejahtera.
Q: What is the purpose of the vaccination verification?
A: It will enable a traveller to enjoy the privileges currently being accorded to fully vaccinated individuals in Malaysia. In several states, where Covid-19 restrictions remain, only fully vaccinated individuals are given certain privileges such as being allowed to dine at restaurants, shop at malls, or even travel beyond district borders. A fully vaccinated status reflected in the MySejahtera app is necessary for businesses and authorities to extend such privileges to individuals.
Q: What does this mean for travellers?
A: The new rule does not restrict anyone from entering Malaysia. Entry is still dependent on approval by border authorities under available travel schemes, such as the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA), which allows cross-border travel with Singapore. Non-Malaysians entering Malaysia must be permanent residents or those with long-term social visit passes.
Q: What does a traveller have to do to verify a vaccination?
A: Vaccinated travellers are required to go to the nearest District Health Office after arriving in Malaysia to provide details of their vaccination history, along with proof of vaccination. Upon verification, the status will then appear in the traveller's MySejahtera app. The government has not said how long it will take to verify a traveller's vaccination status, and further details on the verification process has not been released yet.
Q: What are the current protocols for entering Malaysia?
A: Under the PCA, all travellers need to serve 14 days of quarantine at designated facilities or hotels upon arriving in Malaysia. The PCA used to have a seven-day quarantine period, but this was extended in May this year following a spike in Covid-19 cases in both Malaysia and Singapore.
The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) - another scheme that allowed cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore, but for a shorter duration - has been suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 situation.
Q: Is home quarantine possible after entering Malaysia?
A: To qualify for this, one needs to be fully vaccinated and an application lodged at least a week before arrival via the land border in Johor. Home quarantine will be allowed on a case-by-case basis, based on a risk assessment by the Health Ministry. Last week, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin disclosed that fewer than a quarter of home quarantine applications were approved by Aug 10, the day before rules on it were released.