KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — The Malaysian government will work with embassies on arrangements for foreigners who have cleared the quarantine period for Covid-19 here to return to their country of origin, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.
Ismail Sabri noted that some foreigners may find themselves stranded or stuck in Malaysia after their quarantine period, as there may be lack of direct access to countries with some shutting their borders amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“There are foreigners who have completed quarantine in our country. There are countries that have shut the doors to their country, there are no flights at all, so they cannot return to their countries.
“Therefore, the meeting decided that the Foreign Affairs Ministry needs to discuss with the embassies (of these foreigners) in Kuala Lumpur to ensure their citizens’ welfare are well taken care of in our country,” he said in a daily press briefing.
Ismail Sabri also said the Malaysian government would welcome efforts by foreign embassies to help their citizens return to their home countries.
“We actually welcome if any of these countries that want to bring their people stranded in Malaysia — same as what we have been doing all these while, many of our citizens were stranded overseas and could not return home and we made arrangements to bring them back to the country — we welcome it if any countries want to do the same for their citizens.
“And we hope their embassies can discuss with our Foreign Affairs Ministry to help them bring their citizens back to their countries,” he added.
As for Malaysians who are stranded or stuck overseas, Ismail Sabri said he believes that the Foreign Affairs Ministry is currently handling matters involving the return of Malaysians from abroad.
He, however, said that some of them still have places to stay abroad and said they should stay on there if possible, while also noting that some countries have closed their borders and that any arrangements to bring Malaysians back would require the Foreign Affairs Ministry to carry out negotiations.
As of April 20, there are 191 quarantine centres operating nationwide, with 15,972 individuals currently undergoing mandatory quarantine, Ismail Sabri said.
A total of 13,777 Malaysians who returned from abroad since April 3 have been placed under mandatory quarantine, including 408 Malaysians who returned yesterday.
Since April 18, a total of 2,182 individuals have cleared the quarantine and have been allowed to return home, Ismail Sabri said.
He also said that the National Disaster Management Agency will be handling the return of Malaysians released from quarantine to their hometowns, as some of them will have to cross state borders to return home, giving the example of those quarantined in Kuala Lumpur but with their residence located in Pahang.