KUALA LUMPUR - The visa-free trial period for Chinese tourists should be carried out as soon as possible as it would add value to travel packages to Malaysia, said MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Such a move would lure more tourists from China and boost the tourism industry, he said.
"We strongly feel that visa exemption is one of the ways to attract Chinese tourists. We hope the one-year trial period can take place as soon as possible," he said after launching Wisma Hakka Malaysia, the headquarters of The Federation of Hakka Associations of Malaysia here, yesterday.
If Malaysia exempts visa for Chinese tourists, Liow believed that China would do likewise for Malaysian tourists.
The Cabinet has approved the visa-free proposal and would implement a one-year trial period to assess its feasibility and its impact.
On reports about a possible increase in toll rates, Liow said he hoped the proposal would be deferred for now because it was "not a good time to do so as the people are still trying to cope with the Goods and Services Tax".
In his speech, Liow praised the Hakkas for their spirit to strive to success.
He encouraged the community to take advantage of the rise of China, saying that Malaysia could co-operate with it in many ways including the development of the rail system and ports.
The RM7.5mil (S$2.6 million) four-storey Wisma Hakka Malaysia building consists of a library, a hall, activity and meeting rooms.
Also present at the ceremony were the federation's founder Foo Wan Thot, president Datuk Yong Ah Pwi, lifetime honorary presidents Tan Sri Ng Teck Fong and Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.
Among the guests were Chinese ambassador Dr Huang Huikang, Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah and Star Media Group Berhad (formerly known as Star Publications (M) Berhad) chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow.