KUANTAN, Feb 16 (Bernama) -- All the 47 Malaysians who were freed in Cambodia yesterday, missed their flight home this morning, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said they were supposed to board the low-cost carrier AirAsia aircraft which sponsored 38 seats but were informed a problem involving administrative and logistics had occurred.
As such, Saifuddin said the effort to bring them home would be continued tomorrow or Monday as there were only two flights out Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Malaysia a day.
‘’Some of them do not have passports which could have gone missing or were taken by certain quarters, and this morning, Foreign Ministry officers had issued emergency certificates to them to enable them to go home.
‘’We are told there are only 20 vacant seats tomorrow in the two flights out of Cambodia,’’ he told a media conference after launching an event at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Alor Akar here today.
Saifuddin, who is also Indera Mahkota Member of Parliament, added that he had also ordered his officers to see if there were still seats available on the AirAsia flight on Monday, or find other alternatives so that the Malaysians could be taken home as soon as possible.
‘’They are all in high spirit to return to their family fold and are relieved after being freed. Indeed, all of them are impatient to go home,’’ he said.
Saifuddin also thanked the Cambodian government specifically Prime Minister Hun Sen who gave a special approval to free the Malaysians and all quarters in that country who were involved in freeing them.
He also expressed his appreciation to two senior officers from Wisma Putra, the Consular Division Secretary and the Legal Division chief who had gone to Banteay Meanchey and the Sarawak state government and Julau Member of Parliament Sng Wei Shien who also assisted in the issue.
All the 47 Malaysians comprising 47 Sarawakians were reported to have been detained at the Banteay Meanchey region prison for allegedly cheating, opening and conducting illegal online gambling activities.
They had allegedly entered the country after being cheated with a job offer which purportedly offered lucrative salaries.