This warning was issued on August 10th, 2005, but is still current at the point of writing. When reading this, I never realised I am living in an extremely dangerous country. They wrote among others:
You are advised against non-essential travel to the islands off the east coast of Sabah, including Sipadan and Langkayan island. Recent credible reports (June 2005) indicate that there is a high risk of kidnappings of foreigners. On April 12, 2004, three crew members were kidnapped from their vessel, just outside Malaysian waters off the east coast of Sabah. In October 2003, six foreigners were kidnapped from a resort in Sabah by armed pirates. The Abu Sayyaf group from the Philippines kidnapped foreigners from a diving resort in Sipadan and Pandanan in April and September 2000, and from the resort island of Palawan in the southern Philippines in May 2001. Malaysian authorities have increased security in the region in response to these incidents. Canadians should also exercise caution in areas around Semporna and Tawau on the Sabah mainland.
It goes on to say:
There is a heightened threat of terrorism throughout Southeast Asia, including Malaysia. Canadians should maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times as the security situation could deteriorate rapidly without notice. Exercise caution, particularly in commercial and public establishments (hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events) and tourist areas frequented by foreigners. Canadians should monitor local developments and register and remain in regular contact with the High Commission of Canada in Kuala Lumpur or Foreign Affairs Canada.
This is the best part…
CANADA TRAVEL WARNING: Malaysia
Still Current at: Wednesday 21 September 2005
Updated: 10 August 2005
This Travel Report replaces the previous one, dated August 5, 2005. Changes have been made in section 2 of the report. The level of warning has not changed.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Violent crime against foreigners is uncommon. Petty crime is prevalent, especially in tourist areas and at the airport. Snatch and grab incidents against tourists occur. Thieves on motorcycles frequently grab bags and other valuables from pedestrians, often resulting in injury. Women walking alone or with children are common targets. Exercise normal safety precautions and ensure personal belongings, passports, and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not leave valuables unattended in vehicles. Do not accept food or drink from strangers. There have been cases of drugging. Demonstrations should be avoided.
Male travellers, usually alone, have been approached in public places with invitations to participate in card games offering attractive opportunities for winning large amounts of money. Victims have lost thousands of dollars before realizing they were being scammed.
Dang…this sure is a dangerous country.
What about traveling to Canada? I found this warning that says:
Isolated cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE/mad cow disease) have been reported in Canada and the United States.
Guess they’ve been eating too much beef…that’s why they always get conned. Then again, they’re Canadians.