COLOMBO (Sri Lanka), July 22 (Bernama) -- An agreement has been reached to implement e-Visa for Sri Lankan tourists visiting Malaysia and this is expected to be finalised in November, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, expressed the hope that the matter could be finalised when Malaysia attends an international meeting in Sri Lanka in November.
"Although we have had a soft launch of the e-Visa system, we hope to finalise its implementation in November when either the Prime Minister or I will be attending an international Islamic conference in Sri Lanka," he said at the end of a two-day working visit to this South Asian country, here today.
To a question on the influx of Sri Lankan tourists to Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid said of late the number had decreased.
As such, he said to encourage more Sri Lankan tourists to visit the country Tourism Malaysia could increase awareness on tourist attractions and activities available in Malaysia through aggressive promotions and advertising.
On cooperation in tackling terrorism, Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia had offered Sri Lanka to send its officials from enforcement agencies for training in Malaysia.
On the possibility of foreign countries like Sri Lanka having the perception that crime was increasing in Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid said since 2014, the crime rate was reduced by between 45 to 50 per cent.
This he said was due to the various programmes including enforcement activities conducted, but sadly when the crime rate decreased, the people's perception did not change.
Speaking on the demand for Sri Lankan workers in Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid said among others the government needed to examine existing rules as well as consider the workers' qualifications from this country.
He said Sime Darby for instance had asked for 5,000 workers to replace the Bangladeshi and Indonesian workers who had been working in their plantation sector.
Ahmad Zahid said the two-day visit had left a deep impression on him and had been meaningful in the context of bilateral cooperation and business relations.
In fact he added, the Sri Lankan government had classified the working visit as an official visit.
Meanwhile Ahmad Zahid and his wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis departed for Malaysia from the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo at about 2.30pm (5pm in Malaysia).
During his working visit today, apart from visiting the Asia Pacific Institute for Information Technology (APIIT) he also attended a Malay Islamic World (DMDI) gathering held at a hotel here.