Father of ex-detainee won’t stop his kids from going abroad to work

Abdul Mustaqqim Abdul Karim and his father, Abdul Karim Hakim, at Kuching International Airport.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Feb 17: As a father, Abdul Karim Hakim said he would not stop any of his children if they wished to go abroad to work and earn a living, even after what had happened to his son Abdul Mustaqqim Abdul Karim in Cambodia.

“There is no harm if our youngsters want to work overseas as long as it is legal and ‘halal’. For them, not only they may get better salaries but it is also the learning experience and the culture of working in a different country,” Abdul Karim said.

He said this to reporters at Kuching International Airport today. He was among many family members who waited eagerly for their children or siblings who flew from Siem Reap back to Kuching today.

Forty-seven Malaysians were detained at Banteay Manchey Provincial Prison near Siem Reap in Cambodia since Dec 11 last year following alleged involvement in online gambling.

A Sarawakian ex-detainee wiped her mother’s tears as the latter thanked all those who helped bring the Malaysians home.

After 65 days in prison, they were released by the Cambodian government on Feb 16 after the Malaysian federal and Sarawak state government helped secure their release.

Abdul Mustaqqim, 24, said he learnt a valuable lesson for accepting a so-called well-paid job abroad via WeChat without checking or thinking twice that it could be a scam.

He claimed he was offered a job in the hospitality industry as a housekeeper or a cook.

“Who will not be captivated by such a salary? The syndicate offered me US$1,200 (equivalent to RM4,900) per month. I never saw the agent that offered me the job because everything was done via WeChat.

“When I agreed to accept the job offer, I was asked to pay US$200 as a fee to arrange my trip,” he said, adding that after making the payment, the agent forwarded his flight ticket to Cambodia,” he said while holding his father’s hand.

However, upon arriving in Cambodia some time in mid-October, he and other Malaysians were taken to a bungalow in Poipet and kept there till Dec 11, when they were arrested.

“We were kept in the house. Every room and every movement we made were monitored with a closed-circuit television camera (CCTV). Our phones and passports were taken away.

“One of the boys tried to escape, but he was caught and beaten up. So the rest of us didn’t dare to escape as we feared for our lives,” he said, adding that it was a very frightening experience to witness.

A Sarawakian ex-detainee is reunited with his mother and sister upon arrival at Kuching International Airport.

Abdul Mustaqqim advised youths not to fall prey to offers of working abroad with unbelievable high salaries as there could be a ‘catch’ somewhere.

“Be careful with all these job offers, regardless of the advertisers, be it through social media, phone messages, WeChat, WhatsApp or word of mouth. Although not all the advertisers or headhunters are scammers, please get more information about it. Check with our authorities and the Malaysian embassy in the country that offers such a job,” he advised.

Abdul Mustaqqim and 42 other East Malaysians safely arrived in Kuching on a JC International Airlines chartered flight at 2.30pm. — DayakDaily