Malaysia, Travel, Travel Bubble, SOPs, standard operating procedures, Langkawi

The updated SOPs take effect from 16 February 2022 and will be the benchmark for the reopening of Malaysia's international border.

Malaysia's COVID-19 Quartet of Ministers has agreed to extend the Langkawi International Tourism Bubble (LITB) until the national borders open. Initially implemented on 15 November 2021, the three month pilot project tested the readiness of Malaysia's tourism ecosystem — particularly the tourism industry and frontline workers in receiving international tourists to Malaysia in stages and in a safe manner.

With the extension of the travel bubble, the standard operating procedures for the entry of foreign travellers into Malaysia through the LITB have been adjusted accordingly in compliance with the latest regulations issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH). The changes are as follows:

  1. Fully vaccinated tourists who have taken the booster shot may leave Langkawi Island on day five if the RT-PCR test on day four is negative OR the RTK-Ag (Professional) test on day five is negative;
  2. Children aged 12 and below may travel with their vaccinated parents/guardian without having to prove their vaccination;
  3. Children under the age of two do not need to undergo the COVID-19 screening test;
  4. Each foreign tourist is required to purchase an insurance policy worth USD50,000 (COVID-19 and travel). Malaysian citizens living abroad are exempted from this requirement; and
  5. Flight arrivals via KLIA2 will be allowed beginning 22 February 2022.

The updated SOPs take effect from 16 February 2022 and will be the benchmark for the reopening of Malaysia's international border. For the full set of SOPs, click here.

For the summary of the key things to look out for, please scroll below:  

Allowed movements

  • Subject to the countries approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) / Immigration Department (JIM) / Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
  • The list of high risk countries / prohibited countries refers to the tourists’ presence and not citizenship.
  • Approval through the MyTravelPass (MTP) system during admission is NOT required.
  • Minimum three-day stay in Langkawi Island.

Stay (three - seven days)

  • Movement to and from Langkawi Island shall be by air transport either through Kuala Lumpur or directly to Langkawi Island.
  • The movements of international tourists are limited to the district of Langkawi Island only.
  • Fully vaccinated tourists with booster may leave Langkawi Island on day five if the RT-PCR test on day four is negative OR RTK-Ag (Professional) test on day five is negative.

Stay (>seven days)

  • Movement to Langkawi Island shall be by air transport, either via Kuala Lumpur or directly to Langkawi Island.
  • Tourists may leave Langkawi Island through domestic exits (air or sea) on day eight if the RTPCR COVID-19 test is negative.
  • Movement to all destinations in Malaysia is allowed except areas declared under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).
  • Fully vaccinated tourists with booster may leave Langkawi Island on day five if the RT-PCR test on day four is negative OR RTK-Ag (Professional) test on day five is negative.

Tourist category

  • Individuals who have been completely vaccinated and have passed the period of 14 days from the second-dose injection or after 28 days of single-dose injection (depending on the type of vaccine). The vaccines approved by the MOH are as in Appendix 1 of the full SOPs dossier.
  • No age limit. Children aged 12 and below may travel with their vaccinated parents/guardian without having to prove their vaccination. 
  • The following individuals are not allowed to travel under the Langkawi Island International Travel Bubble:
    • Positive for COVID-19 infection;
    • Close contact to positive cases;
    • Individuals subject to a Home Surveillance Order (HSO);
    • Individuals subject to mandatory quarantine;
    • Individuals who recently arrived from high-risk countries; and
    • Those who are symptomatic.

Purchase of insurance

  • Mandatory for every foreign tourist to purchase an insurance policy worth USD50,000 (COVID19 and travel) for the duration of their stay in Malaysia. This insurance policy can be purchased from a Malaysian or foreign insurance company before departure to Malaysia and can be packaged into a tourist package by the tour operator / travel agent.
  • Insurance policies packaged together with the purchase of flight tickets by the airline or accommodation are also allowed as long as the coverage is for COVID-19 and travel, which includes:
    • Daily quarantine facility expenses
    • Emergency medical transportation by air/ sea to the nearest private medical facility following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis (Categories 3 – 5)
    • Emergency medical expenses for treating illness or injury
    • Mortuary and burial services
    • Daily isolation facility expenses
  • Malaysian citizens living abroad are exempted from this requirement.

 Hotel booking

  • It is compulsory for all foreign tourists to book their hotel before flying into Malaysia through the tour operator/ travel agents registered and licensed with MOTAC.
  • Tourists are required to bring along printed proof of documentation such as payment receipt for the tour package.

Booking and payment for laboratory test

  • Booking and payment for RT-PCR test need to be included in the tour package offered by the tour operator/ travel agent that is registered and licensed with MOTAC

Screening tests & quarantine exemption

Flights via Kuala Lumpur

  • Upon arrival at KLIA or KLIA2, tourists will be fitted with an identification tag by the operator of a private health screening test facility. The private health screening facility operators will:
    • check the tourist's complete vaccination certificate;
    • ensure that the MySejahtera Application has been downloaded and functioning in the tourist’s electronic device;
    • ensure that tourists scan the “Langkawi Island International Tourism Bubble Traveller” QR code and complete the MySejahtera Travel form.
  • Thereafter, tourists are required to undergo the RT-PCR test at the private health screening facility.
  • Children below the age of two are not required to undergo the COVID-19 screening test.
  • MOTAC staff will examine the checklist for tour operators.
  • Malaysian citizens returning from abroad are also allowed into Langkawi Island with the same procedure as foreign tourists.
  • Tourists will be sent to the MOH counter / station to  verify the results of the COVID-19 screening test as well as the confirmation of quarantine exemption.
  • Only tourists with negative results and have obtained clearance from the MOH are allowed to proceed to the Immigration Department counter.
  • If a tourist is found to be symptomatic or positive, the private health screening facility operator is responsible for arranging the transfer of the tourist to designated private isolation/ quarantine locations (for Categories 1 and 2) or private hospitals (for Categories 3, 4, and 5).

Stay at Langkawi Island

Stay (three – seven days)

  • The movement of the international tourists are limited to the district of Langkawi Island only until day seven.
  • Undergo RTK-Antigen self-test on day two, four and six upon arrival.
  • Undergo RTK-Antigen (Professional) test on day three and five upon arrival and must be managed by tour operators.
  • Fully vaccinated tourists who have taken the booster shot may leave Langkawi Island on day five if the RTPCR test on day four is negative OR RTK-Ag (Professional) test on day five is negative.
  • Tourists need to undergo the RT-PCR test before departing from Malaysia, depending on the health protocol of the next country of destination.
  • If a tourist is found to be symptomatic or positive, the responsible tour operator / travel agent must report to the MOH / private health screening facility that has been appointed to manage the tourist to a designated private isolation/ quarantine locations (for Categories 1 and 2) or private hospitals (for Categories 3, 4 & 5).

Safety responsibilities of international tourists

Before travel:

  • Ensure a digital vaccination certificate or complete vaccination confirmation card is available (in printed form).
  • Monitor their own health condition by ensuring that they are always at the low-risk status and updating it through the MySejahtera application from time to time.
  • Make reservations through a tour operator/ travel agent registered and licenced under Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC).

During travel:

  • Monitor own self and the tourist group members’ health conditions, ensuring they are at an optimum level, or non-symptomatic.
  • It is mandatory to ensure that their MySejahtera profile is always at the low-risk status and to always check-in using the MySejahtera application at every destination.
  • It is compulsory to wear face masks in public areas and vehicles.
  • Comply with all travel instructions and related SOPs in force at every destination visited.
  • Undergo RTK-Antigen self-test on day two, four, and six upon arrival.
  • Undergo RTK-Antigen (Professional) test on day three and five upon arrival, managed by tour operators.
  • If tourists wish to stay in Langkawi Island for more than seven days or wish to go to the next destination in Malaysia after day seven, tourists need to undergo the RT-PCR COVID-19 test on day seven.
  • Fully vaccinated tourists with booster may leave Langkawi Island on day five if the RT-PCR test on day four is negative OR RTK-Ag (Professional) test on day five is negative.
  • Tourists are allowed to continue their journey to any destination in Malaysia (except to areas declared under EMCO) after the day seven if the COVID-19 test result is negative.

Before returning to the country of origin:

  • Tourists need to undergo the RT-PCR before departing Malaysia, though it depends on the health protocol of the next country of destination.
  • For international tourists staying for three days in Langkawi Island, the RT-PCR test on the day of arrival or at the latest on the second day is valid for boarding the aircraft (only applicable for tourists flying directly to Langkawi Island).

Upon return:

  • Continue to monitor the health of own self and their family.
  • Quarantine own self voluntarily if necessary and immediately seek treatment at the nearest health facility in case of symptoms.

For the full set of SOPs, click here.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture YB Dato' Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri hopes that this decision will benefit international travellers who wish to visit Malaysia through the LITB.


 Image / 123rf.com

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