KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Nearly half a million Malaysians are currently stranded outside the country due to various travel restrictions during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Wisma Putra has been tasked to look into bringing them home, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.
He said Wisma Putra has identified 10,484 Malaysians to be students or retrenched workers who may be stuck abroad with no way of returning home due to strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) enforced in their respective countries, which made repatriation difficult or impossible.
“Among this was the closing of international borders and the barring of foreign flights from entering their countries. There are also no commercial flights flying from there to Malaysia.
“The government is also particularly concerned about Malaysians who are stuck in countries that have been declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be high-risk for Covid-19 infection,” he said in a press conference here.
It is estimated that around 457,000 Malaysians are currently stranded overseas due to various international travel restrictions.
Of that total, Ismail Sabri said 387,702 of them had registered with their respective Malaysian ambassadors, before urging those who had yet to do so to follow suit.
“The government is very much concerned for our people. This worries us, which is why we are giving extra attention,” he said, adding that Wisma Putra has been asked to discuss with its foreign counterparts for a solution.
Ismail Sabri also said a decision was made during the special ministerial meeting on the movement control order to expand the Malaysia National Disaster Management Agency’s Covid-19 Fund to facilitate repatriation efforts.