Datuk R. Ramanan praises APEC Business Travel card efforts in Malaysia

Datuk R. Ramanan praises APEC Business Travel card efforts in Malaysia

Immigration clearance can be quite the hassle and can take a lengthy process for visitor passes to be approved. This tedious but necessary visa application process is to ensure safe passage and the proper procedure is followed and afforded to everyone. However, this lengthy, albeit important process, may actually hinder business relations. This is where the Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Business Travel Card makes things much easier.

The APEC Business Travel Card is afforded to business owners providing them the ability to travel freely. This is done in a concerted effort by governments to stimulate free trade and open investment opportunities to participating countries. The APEC Business Travel Card allows travellers pre-cleared short-term entry into countries to conduct business, avoiding impractical red tape for business-related purposes.

Individuals skip the process of having to apply for visas and entry permits under personal travel permits and will be able to utilise this multi entry passes to enter into participating countries on arrival through special APEC lanes.

This initiative has been fully endorsed by Datuk R. Ramanan, who has praised the efficient immigration of Malaysia for enabling a more practical solution to the expansion and growth of the economy.

“I would like to thank Immigration Director General Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali and the officer in charge of the APEC Unit, Kasthuri Bai Venugopal, for the great work they are doing at the department. They are running an extremely efficient department with the APEC card Unit under the Immigration Department”.

-Dato Ramanan Ramakrishnan

Datuk R. Ramanan has also supported this move by stating that the APEC Business Travel Card has opened doors for Malaysians to venture freely into other economies. Now businesses can enjoy these benefits because of the good work of these officers who travel to other countries to foster ties and to bring ease into our lives.

“The department along with the Honourable Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, should be commended for supporting such economic initiatives in order for Malaysia to compete regionally and globally. This will help the economy be more flexible and sustainable in the long run.”

The countries that are currently participating in the APEC scheme include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Canada and the United States are transitional members of the scheme.

The implications are huge for Malaysia, as diplomatic ties with certain countries require more bureaucratic administration, for example, China, where the limitations on entry has to be applied in advance, whether it be a social pass or business-related re-entries.

Datuk R. Ramanan is also a strong advocate for Malaysian Indian business owners, and stresses that it is important for them to take full advantage of such a facility in order to bring economic success and growth to the country. The encouragement of the Malaysian Indian community also helps cement and fully utilise the potential of all sectors of the population to encourage and foster young and burgeoning businesses.

According to a study by the APEC Policy Support Unit, the schemes introduced by the APEC Business Travel Card has caused a significant reduction in transaction cost for card holders up to 38%. This proves that these efforts not only work in reducing waiting time, but actual travel cost as well. It has been estimated that the time saved for these card holders in March 2010 to July 2011 is 62,413 hours, which is estimated at a value of USD1.9 million.