FCO Travel Advice for - Malaysia

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  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to an area east of a line joining Sabah’s most northerly point near the town of Kudat to the Indonesian border in the southern part of Sabah, near Tawau. This region has been declared a ‘Special Security Area’ by the Malaysian government. It includes the towns of Sandakan, Lahad Datu town and Tawau and their respective airports. It also includes the towns of Kunak and Semporna and the islands immediately off the coast, including Sipadan. The FCO advise those currently in the region to consider leaving as soon as practicable and to follow the advice of the local police authorities.

  • On 7 March, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib announced that operations against the armed insurgents were ongoing and that an area of eastern Sabah had been declared a ‘Special Security Area’. Additional police and military forces were being deployed to this area.

  • The FCO also advises British nationals to exercise caution in the rest of Sabah, monitor local media reports and comply with the advice and instructions of the police and local authorities.

  • On 9 February around 100 armed men from the Sulu archipelago landed on the eastern coast of Sabah and occupied the small village of Kampung Tanduo approximately 100 km east of Lahad Datu. Malaysian security forces have surrounded the village. On 1 March there was an exchange of fire and a number of fatalities. On 3 March there were reports of further incidents on the coast between Lahad Datu and Semporna. Additional Malaysian security forces were sent to the area on 4 March and on 5 March airstrikes and other military action was reported against locations held by the armed group from Sulu around Kampung Tanduo.

  • There is a general threat from terrorism. Foreign nationals have been kidnapped in East Malaysia and this threat remains, particularly in the islands off eastern Sabah. See Terrorism

  • Malaysia is a multicultural, but mostly Muslim country. See Local Laws and Customs.

  • Around 435,500 British nationals visit Malaysia each year. Most visits are trouble free. See Consular assistance statistics.

  • Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
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