PUTRAJAYA, March 28 — The government will need more than RM50 million to bring back Malaysians from the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) if the two countries implemented travel restrictions, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today.
Therefore, he said those who are still in both countries and wish to come back should fly home now while commercial flights are still available as well as to avoid unnecessary complications later.
“Don’t wait until there is a lockdown in these two countries, and then come running to the government and Wisma Putra to ask for help bringing them back,” he told reporters after witnessing the handover of medical equipment from the Chinese government to Malaysia here today.
Hishammuddin outlined two issues that the government had to face in addressing the Malaysians stranded overseas problem.
“First, the lockdown in the host country. That can only be resolved (through) G-to-G (Government-to-Government (effort), and that can only happen if Wisma Putra has strong bilateral ties with these countries,” he said.
“Second problem (is), even if we have the landing rights and we have the agreement from the (foreign) governments to allow our planes to come in, we need an allocation to charter planes and the amount is not small,” he added.
Hishammuddin further added that in the case of bringing back Malaysians from the US, Wisma Putra estimated some RM50 million was needed to fund the initiative.
“That RM50 million could be spent on buying equipment, medication for Malaysians in need. So please understand Malaysians who are overseas, that (the issue) is not just about allocation.
“Come home now if you want to come home, don’t come home after the lockdown is implemented as the numbers (of Malaysians) in the US, especially, is huge,” he said.
It was reported that US recorded over 100,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of yesterday. — Bernama