The reopening of the Malaysian borders for international travellers on 1 April 2022 saw a huge influx of potential and current foreign investors keen to visit in person: either to finalise new investments or double down on current projects.
However, even as early as 2020, the Malaysian Government had already taken steps to accelerate approval for business travellers’ entry into the country to drive investments. The Malaysian Government established One Stop Centre (OSC) and Business Travellers Centres (BTC) in October 2020 and March 2021 respectively, to smoothen and accelerate the travel, health, and other bureaucratic requirements for potential investors.
One Stop Centre (OSC) for Business Travellers
The OSC predated Malaysia’s border reopening by 18 months, as it was established by the Malaysian Government on 2 October 2020 to facilitate the movement of business travellers following the gradual opening of the local economy post Movement Control Order (MCO) period. The MCO was phased out effective 1 April 2022 when borders fully reopened.
OSC eased the movement of business travellers by expediting the approval of their entry into Malaysia. This decision was made by the Economic Action Council Meeting on 14th September 2020 which was chaired by then Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The initiatives were a quick response by the Government during a trying time globally to ensure Malaysia’s competitiveness and attractiveness as an investment destination were not compromised and that the country remained open for business despite the national health emergency.
OSC consists of three (3) components: the OSC Committee managed by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to evaluate and approve applications for business travellers on daily basis; BTC to facilitate incoming Short Term Business Travellers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA); and the Safe Travel portal which contains information and advisory services as well as an online system application for business travellers.
The OSC Committee evaluates both Long Term Business Travellers (who hold valid passes and intend to stay in the country for more than 14 days) and Short Term Business Travellers (intended stay in the country is for 14 days or less).
While Long Term Business Travellers were subject to a mandatory quarantine as per Ministry of Health (MOH)’s guidelines, Short Term Business Travellers were considered for quarantine exemption subject to approval from the OSC Committee and adherence to strict standard operating procedures.
OSC was a collaboration between several ministries and agencies, namely the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), MIDA, MOH and the Immigration Department of Malaysia (IMI) to ensure the legitimacy and health status of business travellers before they enter Malaysia.
Strategic partners include Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Transport (MoT), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad) and University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).
Business Travellers Centre (BTC)
One of the OSC initiatives was the establishment of BTCs at Gate C36 Satellite Building at KLIA. A collaboration with MAHB, the centre welcomed its first Short Term Business Travellers on 14 March 2021. This continued throughout the entire year before borders fully reopened.
BTC operate 24/7 to facilitate the seamless arrival of approved Short Term Business Travellers. The BTC’s services include PCR COVID-19 laboratory tests that produce result within three hours; business lounge featuring packed and served food and beverages, as well as free Wi-Fi for travellers as while waiting for the PCR result; and dedicated government-appointed/ Duty or Liaison Officers (DO/LO) provided by MAB.
BTC also involved important stakeholders such as Danapuri Sdn. Bhd. (construction and day-to-day management of BTC operations), Pantai Premier Pathology Sdn. Bhd. (MOH-accredited medical diagnostics laboratory conducting PCR COVID-19 tests at BTCs); Menara Medical Clinic (MOH-approved clinic whose certified medical personnel performed PCR swab tests following MOH procedure and precautions).
OSC and BTCs’ Performances
In the drive to attract investments amidst the pandemic, MIDA identified investments in potential leads and in the pipeline which require the assistance of the BTC. These potential investments required business movements by mission-critical executives and key personnel to enter Malaysia to evaluate and advance investment opportunities.
As at 12 January 2022, the OSC approved 21,680 (90.4%) applications for Long Term Business Travellers. Off these approved travellers, 49.3% were technical experts for machine and equipment installation and 50.7% were employment pass holders. However, the Malaysia Government through the IMI decided that effective 13 January 2022, Long Term Business Travellers who hold valid passes, can enter the country without entry permission and thus, did not require OSC application.
As at 31 March 2022, the OSC Committee had evaluated 9,905 applications for Short Term Business Travellers. Of these, 6,947 (70.14%) applications were approved and 2,958 (29.68%) applications were rejected.
As of 31 March 2022, the total investment value of companies facilitated by OSC and BTC for the entry permission of Short Term Business Travellers were valued at RM171.82 billion.
Positive and Encouraging Investor Feedback
The establishment of OSC and opening of BTCs were a major milestone in the Government’s mission to revive Malaysia’s economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, paving the way for the economic rebound in 2021 and beyond by enabling business travellers’ movement to do their business in Malaysia.
Multiple investors have lauded both initiatives, as both OSC and BTCs facilitated multiple new and recurring investments.
“My coworker and I were the first passengers arriving at KLIA using the MIDA short-term travel process. This does not require you to quarantine but you have to do a pre-departure COVID-19 test and one upon arrival. You also get a MIDA liaison to escort you during your visit. The arrival process was very well organised and everybody was super friendly. We got to hang out at the lounge area that was equipped with internet and TV. We were also served food while waiting for the results. Great job Malaysian government!”
Managing Director of Schott AG Germany
Another happy business traveller, who enthused:
“Thank you! Really smooth process, now we are eager to invest!”
CEO of SIBS AB Sweden (Scandinavian IBS Sdn. Bhd.)
As a testament to the success of these twin initiatives, key investments secured thanks to the OSC and BTCs include: Dubai-based Bin Zayed International and Widad’s RM40 billion mixed development; Austrian tech manufacturer AT&S’ RM8.5 billion plant; South Korean copper foil manufacturer SK Nexilis’ RM2.3 billion plant; wafer fabrication equipment company Lam Research’s RM1 billion plant; and French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s RM100 million service centre for business jets.
“Good service rendered by the MIDA officer. Special thanks to the MIDA team for organising this initiative”
Ms Vimala Munusamy,
Associate Human Resources Sunpower
Malaysia Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd.
“Thanks for this great initiative. It has greatly assisted us in all our projects during this tough period”
Managing Director of
Inokom Corporation Group
(note: The initiative has led to the realisation of establishment Porsche assembly plant in Kulim)
“Every single guest we had come through the One Stop Centre commented on how efficient it was. Thanks to the MIDA team for organising this initiative.”
Gilbert von der Aue,
“Truly innovative approach in helping companies managing through the Pandemic. This was by far a game changer for business travellers the whole of 2022.”
HR Senior Director Global Operations
and Head of HR Dexcom Malaysia
“I would like to express our gratitude for your effort preceding our business visit to Malaysia. As we had been trapped within the system due to the series of misunderstandings the visit would have not had a chance to happen without your support. We are very glad that our hectic plan was preserved and I can proudly state that we are frantically continue towards our ultimate goal, setting company footprint in your wonderful country and establishing joint venture with our partner, Alpine Integrated Technologies Sdn. Bhd. It is necessary to say that we were very well welcomed in KLIA by MIDA officials. We enjoyed also hospitality of MIDA lounge while waiting for the process of entering the country. Outstanding approach. Thank you.”
International Business Development Manager,