malaysia reopening

Malaysia Not Reopening Tourism yet But Easing Travel Restrictions

Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

Malaysia is currently open to special long-pass holders and returning nationals only. There is a mandatory quarantine of 7-10 days at a government-appointed facility and negative PCR test results are required. 

All costs for additional testing and hospitalization (if necessary), as well as quarantine accommodation, will be covered by the traveler.

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Malaysia Reopening Borders – Latest Updates

Update February 11

Malaysia has extended its Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) until 31 March, 2021. Under this order foreigners are not allowed entry to the country with the only exception of long-pass holders, international students, and essential workers. 

All arrivals need to agree to quarantine for 7 days if they bring a valid negative PCR COVID-19 test result with them, or for 10 days if they don’t. They will also need to get re-tested before their quarantine period is over. 

The country expects to receive their first batch of vaccines this month and start its administration by March. (Source)

Update December 18

On December 5, the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO – PKPB) in  Sabah and Kuala Lumpur was extended until December 20

The current CMCO includes Kedah, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Sabah, Kelantan, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, and Kuala Lumpur.

Schools and entertainment businesses are closed, while sporting activities and places of worship have a limitation to the number of participants.

Special long-pass holders that are allowed entry to Malaysia are:

  • Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) and their dependant/s
  • Employment Pass (Category EP I, II and III)
  • Professional Visit Pass (PVP)
  • Dependant Pass to expatriate for all categories
  • Long Term Social Visit Pass (LT-SVP) to expatriate for all categories
  • Foreign Maid to expatriate for all categories

Update November 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. For more information on requirements to cross the Singapore-Malaysia border check My Travel Pass.

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 the Malaysia-Singapore border open?

On August 17, 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

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.

Which countries can enter Malaysia?

Malaysia allows visitors coming under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO). Only special long-pass holders and returning nationals are allowed entry.

Malaysia’s Borders still Closed; Delays Likely

malaysia reopening in 2021

Since March, 2020 tourism has been restricted in 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

As of February 11, Malaysia is experiencing a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic and daily cases are ranging between 2000-4000 new cases per day. In total, Malaysia has 254,988 confirmed COVID cases and 936 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, fully reopening of the border as well as allowing regular international tourists in is being delayed indefinitely. (Source:

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.

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 is also 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 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!

Petronas twin towers

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.

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