KUALA LUMPUR – The Foreign Ministry has facilitated 26,572 Malaysians stranded abroad to return home following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, said its Deputy Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaafar.
He said all of them were brought home via 528 flights from 94 countries.
“This number includes 20 members of the Malaysian tabligh congregation who were detained and taken to court in India, and they were brought home three days ago.
“Currently only 56 people are reported still stranded abroad while waiting for the airports to reopen and commercial flights to resume operations,” he said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Negara today.
He said this in his reply to a question from Alan Ling Sie Kiong who wanted to know the efforts made by the ministry to ensure that Malaysians living abroad are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kamarudin also said the ministry estimated that 457,000 Malaysians were currently abroad, however, the actual number could not be finalised as not all Malaysians abroad were registered with the Malaysian representative offices.
In this regard, he advised all Malaysians traveling abroad to register with the nearest Malaysian representative office and obtain the correct visa to facilitate any assistance.
He explained that the Malaysian representatives are now acting as frontline officers to ensure that Malaysians affected by COVID-19 are given appropriate assistance including medical treatment and facilitating the journey back home.
“Our representatives are also in close contact with the community residing abroad to convey any latest information regarding Malaysia. We would like to thank the National Security Council, the National Disaster Management Agency and the Health Ministry for the assistance in this matter,” he said.