Stranded Syrian may finally leave KLIA, Home Ministry says

Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed speaks at a press conference at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Putrajaya on April 13, 2018. – Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed speaks at a press conference at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Putrajaya on April 13, 2018. – Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

PUTRAJAYA, April 13 — The Home Ministry is considering giving Syrian Hassan al-Kontar a special pass that will allow him to stay in Malaysia.

The pass will allow the 36-year-old who is desperate to escape the civil war in his home country to finally leave the arrivals hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang which has been his home since March 7.

“He will be most likely placed under the Syrian refugee programme.

“But before that happens, he will have to go through an extensive security process to ensure that he has no prior problems,” caretaker deputy home minister Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan Mohamed told reporters after officiating the Immigration Department’s excellence awards here today.

Nur Jazlan said the security checks were necessary to ensure those eligible for the refugee programme have no links to any terrorist group.

When asked on the time frame of the completion of the security checks and the possible issuance of the special pass, Nur Jazlan said that was up to the Home Ministry as such an extensive process takes time.

He clarified that currently, Hassan is the only person stranded in transit and such incidents were rare.

In a Skype interview with newswire Reuters yesterday, Hassan said he left his home country to work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2006 to avoid being conscripted in the Syrian army.

He claimed he lost his work permit in the UAE in 2016 and was expelled to Malaysia.

He first arrived here in January 2017 on a three-month tourist visa. During that time, he said he went to Cambodia but was turned back.

He is now stuck in transit as he overstayed his visa and was denied entry into the country.

Malaysia is one of the few countries that accept Syrian citizens without a visa and have been taking some 1,000 Syrian refugees annually since 2016.

The government has pledged to do so for three more years.

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