7 July 2020
Wisma Putra has been tasked with presenting papers detailing the status of over 10,000 Malaysians still stranded abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and the cost of bringing them home.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the 10,484 Malaysians identified by Wisma Putra are currently stuck in countries such as Oman, Egypt and Jordan.
“These are our people who are stranded, and there are also those who have the potential to fall into that position, such as students who are (in the final year of their studies), as well as those who had lost their jobs or will have their services terminated.
“We found that in Oman, some Malaysians who were working as pilots and flight attendants got laid off; and there are students in Egypt, Jordan and a few other countries finishing their studies.
“They all need to come home. So the special ministerial meeting today has requested that Wisma Putra present papers on the status of Malaysians overseas and the cost of bringing them home,” said Ismail at a press conference today.
He added that the repatriation exercise may not be easy, as there are countries that bar foreign aircraft and commercial flights from flying in, as well as those which still have their borders closed.
However, he said that the government remains committed to bringing them home and is highly concerned over the wellbeing of Malaysians overseas, especially those stranded in countries declared as “high risk and critical” by the World Health Organisation.
“In a bid to fly them back, the meeting today also agreed to submit a proposal that contributions from the Covid-19 Fund under the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) be expanded and used to bring Malaysians overseas home, especially those in high risk and critical countries.
“I hope the public will contribute so that we can bring them home,” he said, adding that the funds are currently used to provide food baskets to those in need during the pandemic.
On a separate matter, Ismail said yesterday, 1,197 Malaysians arrived home via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and klia2 from Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Qatar, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, India and Turkey.
One was sent to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, while the rest were ordered to undergo mandatory home quarantine.
In Johor, 140 individuals entered Malaysia via the Sultan Iskandar Building, the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex, Pasir Gudang Port and Stulang.
Police also visited 374 individuals under home quarantine to ensure they comply with Standard Operating Procedures.