KUALA LUMPUR: The government has assured that the welfare of close to 3,000 Malaysians who are stranded overseas will not be neglected and all efforts are being made to bring them home.
Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said they are committed to assist Malaysians who are stuck abroad due to the cancellation of flights by airline companies and travel restrictions imposed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kamarudin said there are a total of 2,982 Malaysians in 55 countries who are unable to come home.
"We are aware and very concerned for the Malaysians stranded overseas. We would like to stress that we do not practice discrimination or favouritism in our efforts to fly them home.
"We will continue to ensure that not one Malaysian stuck overseas is neglected of their safety, health and wellbeing. We are committed to render our assistance," said Kamarudin today.
Kamarudin is the ministry's Covid-19 Task Force chairman.
He was referring to those who happened to be abroad for work, family matters or holiday who possess flight tickets to return but were unable to do so because of travel bans or had their flights cancelled due to the pandemic.
He also called on stranded Malaysians to remain calm and adhere to the directives issued by the government of their host countries.
Kamarudin also stressed that it was important that they were registered with the Malaysian representatives to ensure the smooth flow of coordination for the next course of action.
As of today, the ministry has brought home 2,417 Malaysians from 26 countries, which included two planes that arrived today from Bangladesh and Italy with 306 onboard.
He said it was the result of cooperation of Malaysian representatives in foreign countries with agencies such as the National Security Council, National Disaster Management Agency, the Health Ministry as well as Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.
Kamarudin said MIC bore the costs of flights for Malaysians coming home from India and Bangladesh while T7 Global Berhad paid for those returning from Cambodia.
He said that a total of 1,257 Malaysians have been flown home from India following the cooperation of Wisma Putra, MIC as well as other commercial airline companies.
"According to our registration records, so far, about 1,700 Malaysians are still stranded in several provinces such as in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Trichy. However, this number may be higher than the initial figures from those who had registered with our representatives in India," he said.
Wisma Putra, he said, has opened up opportunities and welcomed more private companies or organisations to come forward to emulate the steps taken by MIC and T7 Global Berhad to bring home Malaysians.