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219 Cambodians stranded in Malaysia to return home

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodian migrant workers camp out at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on April 7 after their flights were cancelled. Cambodian Muslim Media Centre

A total of 219 Cambodians will return to the country from Malaysia today onboard a repatriation flight with Malaysia Airlines.

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Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday the repatriation is the result of nearly two months of discussion and mediation between the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines. He said the talks centred on the 143 Cambodians who had been stranded in Malaysia after missing their April 7 flight.

However, Mr Kuong said among them, only 115 people will be flown home on board Flight MH762 which is scheduled to leave Kuala Lumpur at 4.30pm. “The others decided not to return to the country as some of them have to either resume their work or their studies,” he said.

The 115 Cambodians will be joined by another 104 citizens who purchased tickets for the Malaysia Airlines flight.

Upon their arrival, mandatory procedures will be conducted to curb risks of COVID-19 transmission.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, the ministry last month said once the stranded Cambodians return, they will have to be screened for the virus and placed under a 14-day quarantine in the capital before being allowed to leave for their homes, where they will then be required to sequester themselves for another two weeks.

The measures, said the ministry, are necessary as Malaysia is at high risk of COVID-19 transmission, with the country reporting over 8,000 known virus infections.

Thirty-three local and international organisations on May 29 issued a joint statement calling for the Cambodian government’s intervention regarding the safe repatriation of its citizens stranded in Malaysia.

Mr Kuong yesterday said the same airline will also be flying 164 Malaysian citizens from Cambodia to their home country today.

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