I applaud the decision made by the Cabinet recently to waive the visa application fee for Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia but at the same breath, I am wondering, why can’t our government just go a bit further by making it visa free to enter Malaysia?
Will free visa make a whole lot of difference to encourage more Chinese tourist to visit Malaysia as expected by our policy makers? I beg to differ. Tourists who have the intention to visit Malaysia will visit no matter it is free visa or visa free. Through my travel and stay in China over the years, the common complain that I get from my China friends about why they aren’t visiting Malaysia is that they find it a hassle to apply for the visa to visit Malaysia and it isn’t about the amount of money they have to spend. With or without application fee for the visa to enter Malaysia, Chinese tourists will still have to pay the middleman, tour agency or making the trip themselves to our consulate offices to get the visa. Therefore, the new ruling makes no difference at all and the common reactions I get from my friends are that the Malaysia government’s decision is akin to making no decision at all.
While I hope that the Malaysian government will do away with visa requirements for Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia, I wish of the same reciprocal treatment by the Chinese government. China often describes Malaysia as China’s best friend and the friendships between these two countries are the warmest in this region. And so often we are reminded that Malaysia is the first ASEAN country to establish diplomatic relationship with the Communist China. However, all the talk of so call best friend, old friend, trusted friend and whatever friend you may name it looks more like diplomatic icing on the cake if you know that China’s so call “enemy”, the Japanese do not need visa to travel to China if they intend to stay for not more than 15 days.
Aside from Japan, the passport holder of Singapore and Brunei gets the same “preferred” treatment. Best friend, good friend, trusted friend, old friend, the enemy, the troublemaker, the challenger….and the list can go on and on…..but I only have one question, how can both countries let action speaks louder than accolades or condemnations can describe? The “enemy” doesn’t need visa to travel to China but the “old friend” still needs to apply visa. What say you?
P/S: Regardless, China still holds a special place in my heart and I certainly wish for a visa free travel to China.