Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz responded on Wednesday to recent terror warnings issued by the Australian government for Kuala Lumpur.
He retorted that Malaysia is not alone in facing threats of terrorist activity, according to FMT News. “Paris, London, Frankfurt too, received terror threats,” he said at a media conference at the Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside. “In Australia, the threat is even bigger. So to me, it is not a problem that Australia has warned its citizens.”
His comments follow a DFAT travel warning issued on Monday which alerted of a terrorist attack planned for Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. “Terrorists may be planning attacks in and around Kuala Lumpur,” the advice reads currently. “Attacks could be indiscriminate and may target Western interests or locations frequented by Westerners … we continue to advise Australians to reconsider the need to travel to the coastal region of eastern Sabah.”
In the same week, the UK had also raised their travel warning for Kuala Lumpur and globally, a worldwide high alert has been issued for American travellers due to fears of another Paris-style massacre.
The southeast Asian nation has been on high alert since the Jakarta terrorist attack in January, reports Fairfax media, which killed eight people and was eventually claimed by ISIS. In addition, a recently arrested terror suspect has confessed to organising an attack within Malaysia. CNBC have also reported that at least 150 suspected ISIS recruits have been arrested by Malaysian police since 2013.
In response, Malaysian Minister Nazri Aziz has assured local media that the capital city is safe and that authorities are increasing security against potential attack. In turn, however, he warned Malaysians of visiting Australia. “We too remind our citizens to be careful when going to Australia due to their terror threats and instances of racism displayed there,” he said at the media conference.
A 2012 report from Tourism Australia showed that Malaysian visitors were the seventh largest market of tourist arrivals, with more than 260,000 Malaysian tourists visiting Australia that year. With the perceived fear of racism and terror threats, it could be unlikely for Malaysian tourists numbers to increase.
In spite of warnings of terrorist attack in Kuala Lumpur, Aziz also remains confident that tourism in Malaysia will remain strong.