KUANTAN: Soon Malaysia will be the 38th country where its citizens would not need to apply for a tourist visa to the United States.
Pertaining to this, the Home Ministry held a high-level meeting with other relevant ministries and agencies involved for the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) after President Barack Obama agreed to Malaysia’s participation in the programme during his recent visit here.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said several new protocols, similar to those of the 37 nations listed as participants of the VWP, had also been compiled.
“This is also in line with the standard operating procedure (SOP) which has been determined by the United States government to prevent human trafficking.
“We have also strengthened the Anti-Human Trafficking Council where Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan and I are the co-chairmen,” he told reporters after opening a restaurant, here, on Monday night.
Pahang is the sixth state in his tour programme to meet with the ministry’s officials in the state and local leaders to establish good cooperation.
Elaborating on the issue, Ahmad Zahid said several changes and measures had been taken including implementing the Advanced Passenger Screening System (APSS) to prevent human trafficking.
He said Immigration director-general Datuk Aloyah Mamat and Home Ministry’s deputy secretary-general (Operations) Datuk Wahab Mohd Yasin, would also hold consultations in advance on Ahmad Zahid’s presence in the United States to finalise all the systems that should be followed by Malaysia for the VWP.
The VWP may be implemented in phases, starting with Malaysian officials, followed by businessmen and ordinary citizens or tourists.
The programme is designed to permit visa-free travel to the US for eligible travellers visiting the US for 90 days or fewer for business or tourism.
To date, the VWP comprises 37 countries including Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. — Bernama
Home Ministry prepares for US visa waiver programme