By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, June 3: A total of 30 Malaysians including 10 Sarawakians involved in the oil and gas industry are stranded in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria and one Sarawakian among them is sending out a desperate SOS through social media.
According to the Sarawakian from Kuching, Malcolm Goh, in his Facebook post on June 2 at 9.53pm, seeking assistance through social media was his last resort to seek repatriation from Lagos. He asks whoever coming across his posting to share the message, with the hope that it will catch the attention of someone who can help.
Goh’s message caught the attention of Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who has intervened by requesting Putrajaya for an evacuation flight for these stranded Malaysians.
According to Dr Sim, arrangements were made for the 30 Malaysians to board a flight on May 31 but the attempt failed as Malaysia High Commission in Nigeria has yet to obtain approval from the Nigeria government for the evacuation flight.
As of 3.56pm today, Putrajaya and Malaysia High Commission in Nigeria in Abuja are still waiting for the approval of the Nigeria government on the chartered flight.
Goh in his social media message said they have been stranded in Lagos due to the closure of Lagos Airport. Most of them have been there for months and are hoping that the Malaysian government may charter a flight to bring them back to Malaysia – the only way they can leave the country and return home.
“I have been stranded in Lagos for two months and I really need to go home right now. I have been working here since the start of February and totalling of days of four months.
“With me is another 30 pax of Malaysians wanting to return home. Some (have) even been here since December and have no other means or way to return home,” said Goh.
He said the Malaysian group had contacted Malaysia High Commission in Abuja for help but the efforts were not fruitful as due to the closure of Lagos Airport.
“The only means of transport is via chartered flight,” said Goh.
As time passed, Goh and other Malaysians watched other nationalities like China, Egypt, UK, Brazil, India been flown out of Nigeria. Goh also noticed that Malaysians in other parts of the world were being repatriated and returned home via Malaysian government chartered flight except them.
Frustrated, Goh said if other Malaysians in other parts of the world could go home, he believed they could too.
“We are not seeking for a sponsored flight. We are all willing payer and really willing to pay a (not substantial but acceptable) more-than-usual flight rate.
“We just wish Wisma Putra can prioritize the evacuation of Malaysian in Nigeria. Cases in Nigeria has been over 10,000 in two months’ time and we don’t know when the airport is going to open.
“It’s really heart broken to be away from family during this pandemic and our only wish is to be with our family,” said Goh.—DayakDaily