Putrajaya’s long campaign to have Malaysia included in US’ visa waiver programme (VWP) is unlikely to see success anytime soon.
US Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir believes the Trump administration is not moving towards including any new countries under the programme.
“I cannot predict if there will be a change in that policy.
“Malaysia and the US have worked very hard on travel security measures, in terms of making sure travellers are legitimate, and working on lost or stolen passport information,” she was reported by The Star as saying.
However, she urged Malaysia not to give up hope.
“If there is an opportunity in the future, my hope is that Malaysia will be at the front of the line,” she said.
There are currently 38 countries eligible for the VWP, and Putrajaya has been gradually working towards fulfilling conditions for the programme, including tightening immigration rules.
The programme would have allowed residents of both countries visitation permission of up to 90 days for tourism and business.
A key concern for the US has been Malaysia’s reputation as a transit point for human traffickers and terrorists.
If Malaysia succeeds in obtaining the VWP, it would be the third Asean country to qualify after Singapore and Brunei.