By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, March 4: Eight Sarawakians who were stranded in Liberia, Africa, following a job scam safely arrived in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who was at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to welcome back the victims, told DayakDaily that the Malaysian Foreign Ministry had successfully negotiated the repatriation of the victims.
The eight are all males — four from Kapit and two each from Betong and Balingian.
They are Gawan Masin, 41, Enyang Ato, 66, Aji Surau, 39, Untol Luyang, 58, Sallim Tahir, 49, Suhaili Gani, 39, Bon Egat, 45, and Dingai Nyalak, 47.
“They were offered lucrative salaries of between RM8,000 and RM9,000 a month to do logging jobs in Liberia. All of them arrived together sometime in January this year.
“They were brought into the country by a local Malaysian agent. Upon arrival in Monrovia, they were put in a house and kept there for almost a month,” related Dr Yii.
He added that someone from Sime Darby, a Malaysian company that has an office in Liberia, later heard of them. They went over to see the victims and took care of them by providing food and necessities.
The company also alerted Wisma Putra.
“Sime Darby did the right thing to alert Wisma Putra, who later swiftly negotiated with the Liberia immigration and other relevant ministries to transfer the victims back to Malaysia.
“If the victims were arrested by the Liberia authorities, it would have been much more difficult to bring them back to Malaysia,” opined Dr Yii, adding that the Malaysians were left stranded in Monrovia since Feb 4.
Dr Yii thanked the Foreign Ministry and its minister, Dato Saifuddin Abdullah, for bringing the Sarawakians home.
“I am grateful for all the efforts by the Minister and the Ministry who, since the beginning, was earnest in ensuring that successful diplomatic negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia, the Honourable Gbehzohgar M Findley. They even despatch two special officials as Special Envoys to Monrovia on Feb 26.
“I am also urging for more investigations into these job syndicates that are enticing our people to far away countries with the promise of lucrative jobs. Those responsible must be brought to justice.
“There has to be better protection, especially proper education, for our people so that they will be more aware and vigilant of such matters,” he stressed. — DayakDaily