Malaysia extends health tourism visa to 6 months


KUALA LUMPUR – The visa for health tourists to Malaysia has been extended from 30 days to six months effective immediately, Malaysian deputy prime minister Najib Tun Razak said in Putrajaya, the administrative center of Malaysia, on Tuesday.

The cabinet committee on tourism agreed with the Home Ministry’s suggestion that health tourists be given a longer stay and multiple entries in their visas, Najib said after chairing the committee’s meeting.

“This is to meet our aim to promote health tourism in the country,” the national news agency Bernama quoted Najib as saying.

Tourists applying for the health visa must have certain documents like letters from the hospitals treating them, he said.

The committee noted that there were still many complaints about the taxi service in Malaysia, ranging from not using the meter to the capacity of the taxies, and would refer them to the relevant ministries for further action, he said.

The committee intended to make Malaysia a major shopping destination in the region because foreign tourist spending in the country was still low, constituting only 25 percent of each tourist’s total expenditure whereas in other countries the figure had reached 50 percent, he said.

“As such, this is why the committee has decided that this will be our target in the near future … maybe by 2010 we can achieve our aim of getting each tourist to spend 50 percent of their expenditure on shopping,” he added.