PETALING JAYA - The number of Malaysians travelling to China will drop by almost 70 per cent if the new ruling for obtaining visas to the country is implemented.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents vice-president (outbound) Ab Rahman Mohd Ali said the new ruling requiring Malaysians to be present at the Chinese Embassy when applying for visas was a "ridiculous measure".
"This can be a big loss to our travel and tour players. A lot of charter players will definitely stop their business and the normal tour series players will stop selling China to the local market," he said when contacted yesterday.
Some 1.2 million Malaysians visited China last year.
He was responding to a report by Sin Chew Daily which said those wishing to apply for a visa to visit China will have to present themselves at the Chinese Embassy from next year onwards.
According to the report, Malay-sians travelling to China would be required to provide biometric data, such as fingerprints and photographs, as part of their visa application process.
However, a Chinese Embassy spokesman in Kuala Lumpur had been quoted as saying there was still work being done on the technical aspects of the requirement.
He had also added that a date had not been fixed for the new requirement's implementation.
Rahman added that the measure would incur unnecessary cost and would be a burden to travellers.
He urged the Chinese government to review the new visa requirement for the benefit of both countries.
It was reported that the Chinese government recently introduced four new categories for the ordinary visa application to take effect on Sept 1.
Its State Council legislative affairs office website had said that currently, the existing L-visa (tourist and family visit) and F-visa (business) covered a wide range of purposes of entry.
The new categories are created to accurately reflect the purpose of the visit.
At present, the L-visa is needed for foreigners who visit China for tourism, family visits or other personal matters. Under the new regulation, the L-visa will solely be issued for tourism, with a group L-visa issued for group tours.
The F-visa is originally for study visits, research, lectures, business and exchanges in the fields of science, technology, education, culture and sports.
It is also issued to those going for trade fairs, short-term study and internship of less than six months.
With this new requirement, the F-visa will only cover foreigners on visits for exchange and expeditions.
Once this is implemented, there will be 12 categories of the ordinary visa to China.