Visa-free policy proves good ties between KL, Beijingg

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27: The diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, which will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year, will be further strengthened with the unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from Malaysia starting in December.

Malaysia-China Friendship Association president Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan said Malaysia is the only Southeast Asian country to benefit from this arrangement, along with five European countries, proving the close ties between the two nations.

“The proposal by China to grant this visa exemption signifies a very good friendship between Malaysia and China. It reflects China’s positive view towards Malaysia and I believe this move will benefit both countries,” he told Bernama recently.

The Chinese government on Friday announced that it would implement a unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from Malaysia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain on a trial basis, starting Dec 1, 2023 to Nov 30, 2024.

Abdul Majid also hoped that the initiative would increase people-to-people exchanges between the two nations, particularly among experts, thus contributing significantly to the country’s development and economy.

“Malaysia needs experts from China who are proficient in manufacturing and engineering because many investors indicated that Malaysia lacks expertise in those areas.

“As for China, they need design experts from Malaysia because we have expertise in the field of animation in particular, and this could form the basis for mutual exchange between the two countries,” he said.

Nuzha Travel and Tour Sdn Bhd founder Ammar Yusop believes that the visa exemption initiative would encourage more travel agencies to offer holiday packages in China.

“Currently, many tourists spend less than 10 days in China and I expect around 2,000 to 3,000 Malaysians would go there within the one-year period, compared to only 500 to 600 before,” he said.

He added that with the savings of between RM80 and RM100 from the visa exemption, travel agencies could enhance their holiday packages, enabling tourists to visit more local ‘must-see’ attractions.

Meanwhile, entrepreneur Zulhariry Amiruddin said the initiative would increase the number of Malaysian entrepreneurs sourcing goods from China because they can personally visit the country to assess the quality of products they intend to purchase.

“Before this, most entrepreneurs selling goods from China rely solely on online services, but I believe after this, new entrepreneurs and wholesalers will be more interested in going there (China) to deal with suppliers,” he said.