PUTRAJAYA, Feb 13 — Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah today contacted Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister, Prak Sokhonn, who is also foreign and international cooperation minister, to express Malaysia’s aspiration to see that all 47 Malaysian nationals who were being detained at the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison being released immediately.
When contacting Sokhonn late this afternoon, Saifuddin expressed his gratitude to the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister for his concern on the matter.
“I also request that Cambodia gives its cooperation in ensuring the welfare of Malaysians were protected,” he said in a statement concerning the detention of Malaysian nationals in Cambodia.
Saifuddin said he also extended Malaysia’s appreciation for the cooperation rendered by the Cambodian government especially in allowing several consular visits from the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh on the detainees.
Saifuddin said two senior officials from Wisma Putra comprising the Consular Division Secretary and the Head of the Legal Division of the Foreign Ministry had left for Banteay Meanchey today to continue discussions with the Cambodian authorities concerning the detention of Malaysian nationals.
Last Thursday, Wisma Putra confirmed the report on the detention of the 47 Malaysians since December 11 last year, on charges of cheating, initiating and carrying out illegal online gambling activities.
Saifuddin said he had emphasised that Malaysia respected the sovereignty of the Cambodian Law and that the Malaysian government always reminded Malaysians to obey the local laws where they were in.
“In this matter, Malaysia had requested that consideration be given to speed up the matter so that they could return to their families immediately,” he said.
Saifuddin meanwhile said that the Temporary Charge de Affairs at the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh, Ruzaimi Mohamad had been in Banteay Meanchey since yesterday to give continuous consular assistance to the Malaysian nationals detained.
The consular visit was a follow-up to the consular assistance rendered by the Embassy official on January 22 (2019).
The Malaysian Embassy had also facilitated the visit of Julau Member of Parliament, Larry Sng Wei Shien together with several family members of the detainees to visit the Banteay Manchey Prison today, he said.
On the initiative of the embassy, Saifuddin said a doctor from the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Hospital Beyond Boundaries, also participated in the visit to ensure that the health condition of the detainees was good.
“The Foreign Ministry will continue to closely monitor developments in the case and will take appropriate measures to return them to their families in Malaysia,” said Saifuddin. — Bernama