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Stranded Cambodians home on special flight: 212 return from locked-down Malaysia

Khann Chanvirak / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodians stranded in Malaysia arrive at the Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday. KT/Tep Sony

A total of  219 passengers, 212 of whom were Cambodians, arrived in the Kingdom yesterday following a direct repatriation flight from Malaysia by Malaysia Airlines.

The same flight also flew 159 Malaysians back to their country the same day.

Mouk Heat, a 45-year-old who was stranded in Malaysia said that Cambodian workers in the country were staying in rental housing and receiving food from the Royal Embassy of Cambodia.

Eh Syros, a 24-year-old from Kampong Cham province, said she had been working in Malaysia for a few years. She said  while she was stranded, the Malaysian government fully supported her with food but she couldn’t go outside due to the high risk of COVID-19 transmission in Malaysia.

Cambodian returnees have their documents checked by authorities yesterday before undergoing a 14 day quarantine. KT/Tep Sony

“I missed home and my family. We chatted by Facebook every day,” she said. “My family has prepared the house and some food for me for my two weeks quarantine,” she added.”

In Phnom Penh International airport, Eldeen Husaini of the Embassy of Malaysia said that the repatriation is the result of discussion and mediation between the Cambodian government and Malaysia government.

“The Cambodian passengers and Malaysia passengers paid for their own tickets,” He said. “We [Cambodian and Malaysian government] are not yet open for more flights but we will meet again soon for further discussions”.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told Khmer Times yesterday the repatriation is the result of nearly two months of discussion and mediation between the Cambodian Embassy to Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines.

As per ministry of health requirements, they will be required to undergo lab tests for COVID-19 and placed under a two week quarantine in the capital before being allowed to leave for their homes, where they will be required to sequester themselves for another 14-days.

A total of 212 Cambodians return home yesterday from Malaysia onboard a special flight with Malaysia Airlines. KT/Tep Sony

The deputy director of Licadho, Am Sam Ath, said it was a good thing that Cambodian workers and citizens who have been stranded in Malaysia since April were able to return home.

“We recognise that the Royal Government of Cambodia, especially the Embassy of Cambodia in Malaysia, has worked hard to bring them back, but considering their difficulties, the government should have sponsored their return,” he said.

 

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