Malaysia to allow international students to return, eateries can operate at full capacity

Datuk Seri Ismail said these international students need not apply to the Immigration Department before coming to Malaysia. PHOTO: CHINA PRESS (MALAYSIA)

PETALING JAYA - International students studying in Malaysia's public and private higher learning institutions can return to the South-east Asian country to resume their studies, said Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Malaysia, which has been progressively rolling back its movement restrictions after three months of partial lockdown since March 18, will also allow health procedures for restaurants and eateries to be changed so that their premises can operate at full capacity.

Datuk Seri Ismail said these international students need not apply to the Immigration Department before coming to Malaysia. But they have to register with the Education Ministry or the Higher Education Ministry.

"They need to register, as the Immigration Department needs the list given by the Education and Higher Education Ministries for reference at the airports," he said in his thrice-a-week security briefing on Covid-19 on Friday (June 19).

Mr Ismail added that these students must undergo Covid-19 testing in their country of origin, or as soon as they land in Malaysia.

A news report in December last year said Malaysia has some 130,000 international students from 136 countries. They were mainly from Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Malaysia began to gradually roll back the movement control order (MCO), as Covid-19 cases are seen to be on a downtrend.

The country on Friday reported six new Covid-19 cases, to bring the cumulative total of infections to 8,535. The death toll is 121 cases.

Malaysia's Covid-19 recovery rate is now at 94.6 per cent out of the total number of positive cases.

Mr Ismail said students coming in from "green zone countries" need not be quarantined while those from red zone ones must undergo the 14-day quarantine process. He said some of the green zone countries are Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand and Australia.

The minister said that the government will now allow expatriates working in Malaysia to enter the country, without having to get authorisation from the Immigration Department.

Meanwhile, Mr Ismail also said that the special ministerial meeting that meets regularly to discuss Covid-19 issue has agreed to amend the standard operating procedures (SOP) for restaurants and eateries, to allow them to operate at full capacity.

He said the number of customers at the table will depend on its width, and that social distancing must be adhered to, Malay Mail online news quoted him as saying.

The previous SOP for dine-ins were to leave alternate chairs and table spots empty, and with a 2m minimum distance between two tables.

"Sometimes, families of four or more people coming into restaurants or eateries are required to sit separately since operators are strict about the SOPs. As long as social distancing is maintained, then it is not an issue for them to all sit at the same table," Mr Ismail was quoted as saying.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.