• Reviewed: 9 April 2021, 10:40 NZST
  • Still current at: 9 April 2021

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We currently advise that all New Zealanders do not travel overseas at this time due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and widespread travel restrictions.

The global situation remains complex and rapidly changing. International travel can be complicated with fewer international flights available and disruptions to transit routes and hubs. Any destination could experience a sudden increase in cases of COVID-19 and a heightened risk to travellers of contracting the virus. Strict health measures and movement restrictions could be imposed suddenly. Should you decide to travel despite our advice, be prepared to remain overseas longer than you intended. You should also be aware that your travel insurance may not cover travel disruption or medical expenses.

Managed Isolation and Quarantine in New Zealand
All travellers to New Zealand must undertake 14 days of government-provided managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ). Detailed information about MIQ requirements in New Zealand can be found at

Pre-departure testing requirements for travellers to New Zealand
All travellers to New Zealand (excluding those from Antarctica, Australia and most Pacific Islands) must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result before departure. Detailed information about pre-departure testing requirements can be found on the Unite Against Covid-19 website here.

We recognise that some New Zealanders do continue to live and travel overseas. We continue to provide destination-specific advice about other safety and security risks below.

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Terrorism remains a threat in Malaysia, including in Kuala Lumpur and other major cities On 28 June 2016, a grenade attack at a bar near Kuala Lumpur injured 8 people. Malaysian authorities have disrupted a number of terrorist plots and caution that further attacks are possible.

Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places visited by foreigners. Bars and restaurants, hotels, markets, shopping malls hosting major international brand outlets, tourist attractions, places of worship and airports are all potential targets.

New Zealanders in Malaysia are advised to be vigilant at all times, particularly in public places, areas frequented by foreigners and tourists, and at large gatherings. We recommend complying with any instructions issued by the Malaysian authorities and monitoring local media to stay informed.

There is an ongoing risk of kidnapping in coastal areas of eastern Sabah.  Terrorist and criminal groups based in the southern Philippines have in the past kidnapped people from these areas for ransom payments and further kidnappings are likely.

On 7 November 2016, a German couple were kidnapped by terrorists in waters around Sabah, resulting in one fatality.

On 14 May 2015, a Malaysian tourist and a restaurant worker were abducted by armed men from a seaside restaurant in Sandakan. The tourist was subsequently murdered by his captors.  Foreigners have also been specifically targeted.

Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are also possible targets. Malaysian authorities have imposed curfews on travel by water at night. We recommend adhering to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities, including curfews.

Civil unrest
Protests regularly take place in Malaysia and at times have resulted in civil unrest and disruption to transport and public services.  

New Zealanders in Malaysia are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and political rallies as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to result in violence. 

Petty crime is common in Malaysia. Incidents of bag-snatching occur and can become violent. Individuals on motorcycles who grab bags from pedestrians have caused injuries, and even death in the past from being pulled to the ground. We recommend you pay close attention to your personal belongings when walking in public areas and travelling on public transport.

Credit card fraud is common in Malaysia. We recommend New Zealanders take extra care when using credit cards and ATMs and carefully check credit card statements for fraudulent charges.

Taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur have committed violent crimes against foreign tourists and local residents. New Zealanders in Malaysia are advised to book registered taxis by phone or online, rather than hailing a taxi on the street.

Piracy is a problem in South East Asian waters, particularly in the Strait of Malacca, and in the waters between Sabah and the southern Phillipines.  Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy report.

Smoke haze from fires in Sumatra (Indonesia) periodically causes very high pollution readings in Malaysia and in the past has reached levels considered hazardous in some parts of the country. The smoke haze is generally worse between June and October depending on the number of fires lit, wind direction and climatic conditions.

Some of the most common health effects include irritation of eyes, throat and lungs. For people with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis, breathing in particle pollution can make these conditions worse. For more information on pollution readings in Malaysia refer to Malaysia’s Department of Environment.

General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised against crossing the border with Thailand by land due to ongoing politically motivated violence in the southern Thai provinces.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious, social and cultural traditions in Malayia to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Malaysia should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Malaysia are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand High Commission Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Street Address Level 21, Menara IMC, 8 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur 50250 Telephone +60 3 2078 2533 Fax +60 3 2078 0387 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Fri 0830am to 1230 hrs (reception); Mon-Thurs 0800-1630 hrs, Fri 0800-1600 hrs (telephone enquiries and pre-arranged appointments)

See our regional advice for South East Asia


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