This Advice was last issued in August 2014. It contains updated information in the Summary and under Safety and security: Terrorism (heightened security arrangements and restrictions on movement on water at night are in place in eastern Sabah following recent attacks and kidnappings) and Health (increase in cases of dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis in 2014). We continue to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to the coastal region of eastern Sabah, including islands, dive sites and associated tourist facilities, due to the high threat of kidnapping. We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in all other areas of eastern Sabah covered by the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (ESSZone) due to the heightened security measures in place. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Malaysia overall.
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in all parts of eastern Sabah covered by the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (ESSZone) due to the heightened security measures in place. Authorities have imposed a curfew on all travel by water between 1800 hrs and 0600 hrs. See under Safety and security for further information.
- Australians should avoid all travel to the coastal resorts of eastern Sabah, including the islands, dive sites and associated tourist facilities owing to the continuing high threat of kidnapping, and as such you should reconsider your need to travel to the area. The risk of kidnapping increases on the water and waterfront after nightfall. Information indicates there is a continuing threat of attacks by armed insurgents in or around eastern Sabah.
- The kidnapping threat is highest in the area between the towns of Sandakan and Tawau due to its proximity to the Sulu archipelago in the southern Philippines.
- There are recent indications that extremists may be in the advanced stages of planning to kidnap foreigners from locations in this vicinity.
- Smoke haze across some parts of Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur is usual from June to October but can occur at any time of the year. When haze levels are high the Malaysian authorities recommend limiting outdoor activity. See under Health for further information.
- There has been a significant increase in cases of dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis in 2014. See under Health for further information.
- If you are intending to travel overland from Malaysia to Thailand, you should also read the travel advice for Thailand which recommends that Australians do not travel to or through the far southern Thai provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla.
- Australians visiting Malaysia on business should see our Advice to Australian business travellers.