By The Star/ANN
In a statement, the ministry said the 45-day rule was considered a cooling-off period aimed at preventing any abuse of the visa-free requirement.
The ministry said it was aware of a Federal Gazette dated Dec 23 on the visa-free requirement, which went viral on social media recently with some parties linking the requirement with tourists from China who overstay.
"The Immigration Department, under the ministry, has consistently conducted operations to nab illegal immigrants, including tourists who overstay.
"Stern action are taken against foreigners who break the law," the ministry added.
"Entering the country via eNTRI is an improvement of the Visa on Arrival (VOA) mechanism, where security element is part of eNTRI's processes and controlled fully by the Immigration Department.
"The main objective is to strengthen the country's tourism industry with the visa-free requirement for tourists who want to visit Malaysia," the ministry said.
It added that the ministry and the department had and would always ensure that the nation's safety was a priority.
"We will not compromise against any parties who threaten public order and safety," the ministry added.
It was reported on Saturday (Dec 28) that tourists from China and India would be able to visit Malaysia without a tourist visa next year.
Throughout 2020, they will be able to enter the country for up to 15 days by using the electronic travel registration and information system – either individually or through travel agencies in their respective countries.
However, the tourists must enter and exit Malaysia only through authorised airports or entry points.
Upon arrival, they must produce proof of sufficient cash for expenses, credit card or bank card, and produce their travel itinerary in Malaysia. They should also have a valid return ticket.
According to a statement from the government, these tourists would be able to travel to Malaysia three months after registration.
In addition, the 15-day period cannot be extended and these tourists cannot apply for any other passes under the Immigration Regulations 1963.
The statement was signed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, exercising the functions of the Home Minister.
It was reported that Malaysia aims to attract 30 million international tourist arrivals for the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign – bringing in total tourist receipts of RM100bil.