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PRESS RELEASE : U.S. AMBASSADOR SUMMONED TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

U.S. AMBASSADOR SUMMONED TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

 

  1. The Ambassador of the United States of America to Malaysia was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, 17 April 2019 to clarify the U.S. government’s decision to include Malaysia in the “K” indicator list of its Travel Advisory issued by the U.S. Department of State on 9 April 2019. Acting Secretary General YM Raja Dato’ Nushirwan Zainal Abidin received Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir and handed over a protest note, expressing the Malaysian government’s objection to the U.S. decision which does not reflect the reality on the ground, particularly the improved security situation in eastern Sabah.

 

  1. During the meeting, the Ambassador explained that the U.S.' travel advisory categorizes each country into four possible tiers, based on the U.S. government's assessment of the safety and security situation. As in previous years, Malaysia as a whole has been placed in Tier 1, reserved for the safest countries and which is the lowest risk. However, it was explained that eastern Sabah is subject to the "K" indicator due to the U.S.' concerns of potential kidnappings and hostage taking. It was recalled that in the previous travel advisory, that area was subject to "C" (crimes) and "T" (terrorism) indicators, which were broader in nature. Eastern Sabah is no longer subject to these two indicators. Both parties agreed that it would be useful if, in the future, the Malaysian government is informed prior to similar announcements being made.

 

  1. The Ministry reiterates that security and safety of tourists throughout Malaysia including in eastern Sabah continues to be a top priority. Malaysia has been taking proactive measures to ensure the security of eastern Sabah. This is reflected to the significant drop of kidnapping cases to almost nil last year.

 

4.         The U.S. Ambassador took note of the Malaysian government's protest and concerns and would duly convey them to Washington. It was recalled that Malaysia continues to be attractive to U.S. tourists and 2018 recorded an increase of 27.9 percent in tourist arrivals from the U.S., bringing the total to 253,384.

 

 

PUTRAJAYA

18 APRIL 2019