Service charge higher than Malaysian visa fee in China

PETALING JAYA - The chairman of Tourism Malaysia has questioned the service charge imposed by the one-stop centre for Malaysian visas in China.

In his blog yesterday, Wee Choo Keong said every tourist from China has to pay a visa application fee of RMB80 (S$17.50) charged by the Malaysian government, and another RMB120 as a service fee to an outfit known as SPPV One Stop Centre.

"SPPV One Stop Centre has been jointly operated by Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd and Beijing Lingxiang International Entry and Exit Service Co Ltd.

"This one-stop centre has processed a minimum of 1,500 applicants every day," he said.

Based on Wee's statement, the centre gets a minumum of RMB180,000 a day from service fees or a few million ringgit a month.

Wee hopes that Chinese tourists will be exempted from the service charge, which is even higher than the visa fee.

In a separate statement, he said Chinese tourists travelling to Malaysia will be granted temporary social visit passes or a visa-free period for 15 days beginning October.

In a statement released by Tourism Malaysia, Wee said the Home Ministry had finally agreed to the move on Wednesday.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had announced in June that the Cabinet had agreed to grant the visa-free facility to group tourists from the China effective September.

"Visa-free or temporary social pass will only be granted to tourists from China travelling with tour operators registered with the Tourism and Culture Ministry.

"The group must consist of at least 20 people.

"The temporary social pass will be limited to 15 days for each entry into Malaysia and no extension will be granted," said Wee.

The approved entry points are KLIA, KLIA2 as well as airports in Penang, Senai, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

These temporary social pass holders will not be allowed to apply for other permits or passes, and the pass will only be granted for those traveling on direct flights from China to Malaysia.

The tourists must also have a return flight ticket.

"The applicants for the temporary social pass must provide proof in the form of cash, credit cards, ATM cards with the UnionPay logo, and details about place of residence at the time of arrival.

"In the event that any tourist under this category fails to return or violates any conditions set by the ministry, the tour operator will be fined RM1,500 (S$500) per tourist.

"In addition, any tour operator that violates the conditions three times or more will be blacklisted and barred from bringing in any more tourists from China," he said.