KUANTAN: All the 47 Malaysians freed in Cambodia yesterday, missed their flights home this morning, said Foreign Minister 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 efforts to bring them home would be continued tomorrow or Monday as there were only two flights out from Phnom Penh to Malaysia a day.
‘’Some of them do not have passports, which could have gone missing or were taken by certain quarters. 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 MP, said 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 brought home as soon as possible.
‘’They are all in high spirits to return to their family fold and are relieved after being freed. Indeed, all of them are impatient to get home,’’ he said.
Saifuddin also thanked the Cambodian government, specifically Prime Minister Hun Sen, who gave 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 MP 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 regional prison for allegedly cheating, opening and conducting illegal online gambling activities.
They had been lured there with promises of high-paying jobs.