malaysia reopening

Malaysia easing travel restrictions but not opening tourism yet

Disclaimer: Travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.

Malaysia reopened its borders on July 1st but only to medical tourism from 6 countries listed below.

A few weeks ago, the Malaysian government started to slowly ease the travel restrictions following the launching of My Travel Pass. This strategy intends to help all categories of pass holders to request permission to enter, exit or re-enter the country during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

All travelers must have formal written approval from the Malaysian Government before attempting to enter Malaysia, though.

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Malaysia Reopening Borders – Latest Updates

Update NOV 20

All nationalities who are legal residents in Singapore, who need to make single-entry essential travel including for business and official purposes in Malaysia

Singapore-Malaysian border is open only for essential travel but there are on-going negotiations to speed up the reopening of crossings between these 2 neighboring countries. Here you have the restrictions.

  • Maximum period of stay is 14 days
  • Travellers must have remained in Singapore for at least 14 days prior to departure to Malaysia
  • Travellers will pay for their COVID-19 PCR test 
  • Travellers must install, register and activate MySejahtera App before departure.
  • Travellers who require a visa to enter Malaysia will have to obtain the visa before travelling to Malaysia.


Update OCT 12

covid map malaysia
Covid Map Malaysia (Wikipedia)

Update SEPT 30

Malaysian government extended the border closure until December 31st. There are some exceptions such as medical tourists, certain business travelers, foreign spouses, etc. (more info below) (source)

Malaysian Ministry of Health is negotiating with Singapore and planning to fully reopen the border between these 2 countries for daily commuters. Said minister Adham Baba on Sept 11. (source)

As of September 30th, Malaysia has 11,224 confirmed COVID cases and 136 deaths caused by the virus. The daily rate started growing again and it seems like Malaysia is experiencing a 2nd wave of the coronavirus. (source)

Malaysia and Singapore’s border

Prior to Covid-19, the border between Malaysia and Singapore was among the world’s busiest. There were over 29,000 flights between the two countries annually as well as 300,000 daily land crossings.

Is Malaysian and Singapore border open?

As of August 17th, Malaysia and Singapore entered into a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) agreement which allows certain types of groups to travel between these 2 countries. Find out more & apply here.

This allows short term travel of up to 2 weeks for the citizens of these two nations. Those traveling will still be under strict health monitoring rules.

Rules for Medical Tourists in Malaysia

Currently, this is the only type of tourism allowed. Foreign visitors who would like to access Malaysian health care services must first contact the Health Ministry.

They will be required to register with the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and download an app.

Prior to coming to Malaysia, they must pass a Covid-19 test. They will also be tested upon arrival. They must go directly into quarantine at the hospital or clinic where they will receive care.

If a medical tourist has a family member or guardian, then that person must also follow these guidelines.

It is believed that as Malaysia opens to other types of tourists, it will impose similarly strict rules upon them.

Which Countries’ Citizens Can Enter Malaysia?

On July 21st, the list of “green zone” countries whose residents are allowed to enter Malaysia for medical treatment include:

  • Brunei
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Information below was up to date as of August 25th

Malaysia’s Borders still Closed; Delays Likely

malaysia reopening in 2021

Since March, tourism has been restricted into Malaysia with a government ordered Movement Control Order (MCO) in place. General tourism is still not possible, but as of July 1st medical tourists were allowed.

In addition, a few other foreigners are being allowed to enter. These include foreign spouses and dependents and a few select workers in high management positions. These arrivals must follow the same strict entry rules as medical tourists.

How the Coronavirus has affected Malaysia

According to Worldometers’ analysis, there have been 9,267 Covid-19 cases and 125 deaths in Malaysia.

As of November 20, Malaysia is experiencing a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic and daily cases are ranging between 800-1200 new cases per day. In total, Malaysia has 51,680 confirmed COVID cases and 326 deaths caused by the virus. (Source)

The Malaysian government is still negotiating with Singapore to reopen borders fully for daily commuters but as there are huge spikes in COVID infections, full reopening of the border as well as the international border is being delayed indefinitely. (Source:

Only travelers that apply for RGL are allowed to cross.

Malaysia imposed a strict quarantine policy that included asymptomatic patients. Anyone who came into close contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient was subject to being hospitalized. It also imposed mass testing early on, particularly in high-risk areas. Currently nationwide testing capacity stands at 20,000 tests per day.

Robust contact tracing teams and a relatively good public health system have also helped to keep the number of cases low.

Why visit Malaysia?

Located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia takes up part of the Malay Peninsula as well as the island of Borneo.

It’s known for its natural beauty, with white sand beaches and tropical rainforests. It also has a melting pot of cultures, with Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Europeans all living here.

If you go to Malaysia, you can choose between two very different experiences. You can either visit the Malay Peninsula, which has an ultramodern capital, Kuala Lumpur, and a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European cultures.

Or you can visit the Malaysian Borneo. Here you will find orangutans and remote tribes in the wild jungles as well as granite peaks, massive trees, and waterfalls. There are also beautiful islands, excellent diving, colonial towns to explore, and luxury resorts for those who seek to be pampered.

For those who seek pristine white beaches, Langkawi offers 99 islands to choose from. An archipelago in the Andaman Sea, it is Malaysia’s heaviest tourist destination.

Conservationists can visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation center, which was opened in 1964. Here they can meet rescued orphans, who are trained to survive in the wild. They are released into the adjacent sanctuary.
In Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, you can visit the Petronas Twin Towers, which are the tallest twin buildings in the world. The Batu Caves near the city offer magnificent Hindu art and there are many beautiful Buddhist and Hindu temples within the city itself.

The Bukit Bintag shopping district offers both daytime bargains and trendy nightlife.

Thanks to the mix of cultures here, there are also some addictively tasty dishes to try!


It may be a while before Malaysia opens its borders. When it does, make sure your visit here encompasses both the highlights of the peninsula and the unique charms of Borneo.

Malaysia is a nation of contrasts – it has exquisite natural beauty and ultramodern skyscrapers. It also has a rich mix of cultures that make it very unique.