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Malaysia to allow visa-free entry to Chinese, Indian nationals

Travellers arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport under the Malaysia-Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane programme, in Sepang

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -Malaysia will grant visa-free entry to citizens of China and India for stays of up to 30 days starting on Dec. 1, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said.

Anwar made the announcement late on Sunday during a speech at his People's Justice Party congress.

In a statement on Monday, Malaysia's Home Affairs Ministry said the visa exemptions would last until Dec. 31, 2024.

China and India are Malaysia's fourth- and fifth-largest largest sources of tourists.

Malaysia recorded 9.16 million tourist arrivals between January and June this year, with 498,540 from China and 283,885 from India, according to government data. That compares with 1.5 million arrivals from China and 354,486 from India in the same period of 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Other Asian countries have been taking similar measures.

China last week announced visa-free entry from next month for citizens of Malaysia and several European countries, while neighbouring Thailand, whose economy relies heavily on the tourism sector, has exempted Chinese and Indian nationals among others.

(Reporting by Danial Azhar; Editing by Martin Petty and Edmund Klamann)