Malaysia

Malaysia

Use Normal Level of Caution
Use High Level of Caution when visiting the following municipalities: Kudat

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia in two main regions separated by the South China Sea: West Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula between Thailand and Singapore, and East Malaysia on the northern third of the island of Borneo. The population is approximately 29 million people.

Malaysia's government is a constitutional monarchy. The chief of state is a king whose position is mainly ceremonial. The king is elected every five years from the hereditary rulers, the nine sultans of the Malay states. The head of government is the prime minister.

Malaysia is a high middle-income economy, and the country has a Vision 2020 plan to have a developed economy status by 2020. Manufacturing is a major sector of the economy.

Malaysia is one of the safest and most stable countries in Southeast Asia. Visitors to Malaysia can enjoy markets, museums, national parks, caves, and beautiful beaches.

Currency MYR: Ringgit
Language Bahasa Malaysia. English is also used for some official purposes.
Capital Kuala Lumpur
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert October 16, 2017 - Dengue fever in Malaysia - update

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Malaysia. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

The World Health Organization states that the risk of malaria exists only in limited forested areas on the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the central areas of peninsular Malaysia. NaTHNaC only mentions the risk of malaria in peninsular Malaysia. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that malaria is present in rural areas, but there is no risk in Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, including Penang Island.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Malaysia through contaminated food or water. 

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Malaysia.

Japanese encephalitis

In Malaysia, Japanese encephalitis is widespread in Sarawak, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Johor, and cases are reported from all states of Peninsular Malaysia and in Sabah. Outbreaks have not been reported in Kuala Lumpur or other major cities. The risk for travellers of contracting Japanese encephalitis is low, but visiting the listed areas and extensive outdoor activity in rural areas will increase this risk.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Malaysia, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks have occurred in Malaysia, and the risk to travellers is significant.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya is a viral disease that occurs in Malaysia, mainly in Sarawak. Outbreaks of this disease usually occur during the tropical rainy season but can occur during the dry season as well.

Schistosomiasis

The parasite that causes schistosomiasis is found in Malaysia. Areas at risk include the states of Kelantan, Pahang, and Perak, as well as in rural Sabah. There is no risk in urban or coastal areas. Schistosomiasis is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Scrub Typhus

This disease generally occurs year-round in rural areas of Malaysia.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to Malaysia are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Nipah Virus

The first outbreaks of Nipah virus infection were discovered in Malaysia in 1994.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk for yellow fever transmission in this country. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Cholera

Cholera may occur in this country.

Zika Fever

Zika virus can occur in this country.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Large outbreaks of this disease have occurred in Malaysia in recent years.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Malaysia.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

If travelling to areas where the risk of exposure is high, during October through December, and if engaging in extensive outdoor activities, vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is recommended.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

The yellow fever vaccination is not recommended. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Malaysia.

Anti-malarial Drugs

In rural areas where there is a risk of malaria, the recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Malaysia

Emergency Numbers

999
112 For mobile phone
03-2115-9999 Royal Malaysia Police Operations Centre
03-2262-6555 Alternate number for Royal Malaysia Police Operations Centre

Personal Safety

Travellers to Malaysia should exercise caution, particularly in commercial establishments and public areas, due to an increased threat of terrorism. Monitor local news reports and maintain a high level of awareness of personal safety at all times.

Violence against foreigners is generally uncommon. Petty crime in Malaysia, however, is common. Ensure your bags are secure and your documents and personal belongings are kept safe at all times. Do not leave your belongings unattended. Travellers should be careful when using their credit cards, and only use them at reputable businesses as credit card fraud is common in Malaysia.

Be wary of fake taxi drivers as there have been reports of robbery, assaults, and overcharging by these individuals. Never accept food or drink from strangers, and do not leave food or drink unattended as there have been reports of drugging.

Areas To Avoid

Travel to the islands off the east coast of Sabah, including Sipadan and Langkayan, should be avoided. Foreigners have been kidnapped in these regions in the past.

Political Unrest

Regular political demonstrations in central Kuala Lumpur do take place on Saturday afternoons, generally at Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and KLCC. Sitata reminds travellers to minimize safety risk by avoiding all public gatherings and protests since even peaceful rallies can escalate quickly and unexpectedly.

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