189 missionaries stranded in India after ‘misusing’ social visa pass

Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says arrangements are being made to fly home 125 missionaries who have been freed on July 17.

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said 189 tabligh missionaries stranded in India are in a “critical situation” as some have been held for misusing their social visa pass for religious reasons.

He said 157 were in New Delhi, 23 in Chennai and nine in Mumbai.

The missionaries, he said, had been stranded in India after the republic imposed restrictive movement control rules in March to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many of them were nabbed on the grounds that they had misused their social visa passes for religious activities,” he said at a press conference at the Parliament lobby today.

To date, 125 missionaries have been freed.

Wisma Putra, he added, was coordinating efforts to bring them home via chartered flights on July 17.

Meanwhile Hishammuddin said only 2,000 Singaporeans and Malaysians were allowed to utilise the periodic commuting arrangement (PCA) initiative daily. Another 400 commuters from each of the two countries are allowed to use the reciprocal green lane (RGL).

The two travel schemes are to be implemented from Aug 10.

The RGL will allow travel for essential business and official purposes. Travellers will be swabbed upon entry and will be required to submit an itinerary of their visit.

The PCA allows citizens with long-term immigration passes to enter either country for work purposes.

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