Wisma Putra denies neglecting Malaysians in NZ after terror attack

People gather with flowers and to pen messages in remembrance of the Christchurch shooting victims at a makeshift memorial in Hamilton, New Zealand on March 16, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Shazly Khan.
People gather with flowers and to pen messages in remembrance of the Christchurch shooting victims at a makeshift memorial in Hamilton, New Zealand on March 16, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Shazly Khan.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today denied claims the government is not taking care of Malaysian victims in New Zealand and their kin in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings as reported in The Star newspaper.

Calling the news report inaccurate, the ministry said the government “is doing its best to assist the victims and their families”.

“In addition to the two officials from the High Commission of Malaysia in Wellington the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also deployed the Deputy Secretary General (Multilateral Affairs) to provide the necessary assistance to the victims and their families,” it said in a statement.

It added that High Commissioner to New Zealand Nur Izzah Wong Mee Choo arrived in Christchurch yesterday to provide additional support.

In its report yesterday, The Star cited several Malaysians and their kin in New Zealand claiming they were forced to fend for themselves as close to no government assistance was accorded to them, either in cash or kind in locating the missing family members.

The report noted that the affected Malaysians had set up a Facebook group page to crowdsource financial aid.

But the Foreign Ministry said financial contributions from Malaysians have been handed over to each affected family yesterday.

“More financial contribution from multiple sources is expected to trickle in this week.

“With regard to the family’s expectation for financial assistance from the Malaysian Government, we have explained that it is subjected to various financial procedures and regulations,” it said.

The ministry explained that affected victims can also eligible for the local Accident Compensation Corporation scheme, which will cover some 80 per cent of their costs.

It added that victims can apply for monetary aid from the relief fund under the Christchurch Muslim Crisis Group and the Christchurch Shooting Victims Fund.

“We are making the necessary arrangements to assist the victims in accessing the funds available to them,” the Foreign Ministry said.

It said to date, one Malaysian is still classified as missing following the incident, with three other victims making progressing steadily as they undergo treatment.

Penang state lawmakers Azrul Mahathir Aziz and Phee Boon Poh were present for congregational prayers and Yasin prayers recital together with the families yesterday evening.

The shooting at two mosques in Christchurch last Friday have brought the death toll to 50 people so far, and another 50 injured.

The shooter, who has been identified as an Australian named Brenton Tarrant, had live-streamed his entire killing spree on the internet, enabling the massacre to be viewed by millions of users around the globe.