Mahathir: We are nice people, no need for travel advisory against Malaysia

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says there is no need for a travel advisory against Malaysia, as we are a "safe nation".

"One or two terrorists have been caught, but otherwise we are a safe country," he said at an American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon here Thursday (April 8).

"People can come here and there is no need for an advisory against Malaysia.

"I am quite sure you can come here for dinner, or lunch, and you feel quite safe, but in some countries, even as you are praying, they can kill you," said the Prime Minister, in response to a question by one of the participants who asked which state would Dr Mahathir recommend to tourists.

Dr Mahathir said that while many American investors come to Malaysia, the same cannot be said of tourists from that country.

He also said that these investors should encourage their fellow Americans to visit Malaysia.

"For some reason or another, we are not getting American tourists. No American planes or companies fly to Malaysia.

"They fly to Singapore but not to Malaysia. I have always wondered why, we are nice people," he quipped.

The US State Department on April 9 placed Malaysia in the "K" list in a travel advisory.

It said the move reflected the US government's concern about potential kidnapping or hostage-taking situations in certain areas of eastern Sabah.

Wisma Putra summoned US ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdir on Wednesday (April 17) to explain her government's decision on the travel advisory.

The Foreign Ministry in a statement said acting secretary-general Raja Datuk Nushirwan Zainal Abidin had also handed her a protest note, expressing the Malaysian's government's objection to the decision by the United States.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir added that Malaysia will see more Chinese tourists if the visa process was expedited, and the nation is hoping for at least 30 million tourists from China by next year.

He said that there are many tourists from neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Indonesia coming to Malaysia.

"If we can persuade them (Singapore) to build the third bridge, we can get some benefit from there too," he added.

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