Wisma Putra, Immigration to issue guidelines for Malaysians trying to get back to country

Ben Tan
People are seen wearing face masks to protect themselves against the new coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur March 15, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The federal government will issue guidelines for Malaysians stranded abroad due to lockdowns that several countries have enforced due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said some Malaysians abroad including students could not secure passage back to Malaysia.

“Some of the Malaysians can’t afford to return home. We have asked Wisma Putra and Immigration Department to come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) to settle this issue.

“We will look into bringing them home,” said Ismail in a press conference after chairing the special task force meeting in Putrajaya today.

Ismail, who is also the defence minister, said he did not have the exact figures of how many Malaysians were stuck abroad.

On stranded Malaysian students, Ismail said they are mainly in India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia.

On March 19, it was reported that Wisma Putra recorded 841 Malaysians who are stranded overseas after the respective governments imposed restrictions and travel bans to curb the spreading of coronavirus (Covid-19) disease.

Malaysian citizens were stranded in 20 countries. Those in India made up the highest number with 274 people followed by Uzbekistan (209) and Morocco (160).

The Foreign Ministry has already repatriated some Malaysians from India, Bangladesh, Iran and Italy, among others.

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