Malaysia asks Cambodia to speed up probe on 47 detainees

Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a discussion at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Kuala Lumpur February 14, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a discussion at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Kuala Lumpur February 14, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 14 — Malaysia hopes that the Cambodian authorities will expedite their investigation process on the 47 Malaysians being held at the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison so that those not guilty can be freed soon, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

“The earlier, the better. Of the 47 detained, we ask that those not involved in any wrongdoing be released immediately.

“We are confident that the majority of those detained are not involved in any offences because they are just victims of a job scam,” he told the media after attending the Foreign Ministry Inter-Agency meeting here today.

Wisma Putra confirmed last Thursday the detention of the 47 Malaysians in Cambodia since December 11 last year on charges of cheating, initiating and carrying out illegal online gambling activities.

Saifuddin also contacted Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, who is also the foreign and international cooperation minister, yesterday to express Malaysia’s hopes for the early release of the detainees.

Saifuddin also thanked the Cambodian and Sarawak governments as well as the affected parties for their full cooperation in handling the matter.

“I think the 47 detainees have already appointed their own lawyers, but as a responsible government we have also sent our legal officers there to help them,” he said, adding that Malaysia respected Cambodia’s laws.

Saifuddin advised Malaysians to understand that the case occurred because Cambodia practised the French legal system, which is different from Malaysia’s ‘common law’.

“So, sometimes there are different interpretations, and that’s why we have sent out legal officers over,” he said. — Bernama