Asia Minute: Warnings on Travel to Malaysia
The Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia is coming under closer scrutiny when it comes to the possibility of a terrorist attack. Australia issued the latest warning—but officials in Malaysia say there’s no reason to worry. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
Several western governments are increasingly concerned that trouble may be coming to Malaysia in the form of an attack against foreigners or foreign targets. On Sunday, Australia issued a travel advisory urging its citizens to be vigilant in and around the capital city of Kuala Lumpur—adding that violence could take place in locations frequented by Westerners. The Straits Times quotes a spokesman for Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry saying there’s “nothing to be alarmed of”…and the local police chief of Kuala Lumpur told reporters “the city is safe from any terror threat.”
Last week, the United Kingdom changed its threat level for parts of Malaysia from “general” to “high.” The UK joined Australia and New Zealand in warning against travel to coastal islands in the east Malaysia state of Sabah….because of the threat of kidnappings. That’s in the northeastern part of the Malaysian portion of the island of Borneo---not far from the southern Philippines—which has also been plagued by kidnappings. The regional chairman of a travel agents association in Sabah state said local occupancy rates are between 90% and 100%—showing tourists are not concerned. He also pointed out the largest growth market for tourism is currently travelers coming from China.