NGO urges govt to secure release of detained Malaysians in Cambodia quickly

A file photo shows the 47 Malaysians, 44 of them Sarawakians, being met by an officer from the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia recently.

KUCHING, Feb 8: Sarawak Patriot Association (SPA) is deeply concerned with the detention of 47 Malaysians, including 44 Sarawakians, in Cambodia without trial.

SPA chairman Datuk John Lau said they had received pleas of assistance from some parents of the detainees.

“We believe the 44 Sarawakians who are within the age of 18 to 20 years may have paid money to a recruitment agency to find high-salary jobs in Cambodia. We also believe they may have been forced into illegal activities in Cambodia, which they were not aware of,” Lau said in a statement today.

SPA’s legal team would be writing to the Cambodian Embassy to implore them to understand the actual situation rather than detain them without trial.

Lau advised the people to be wary of overseas syndicates who might be targeting people from lower-income families to entice them with opportunities to land high-income jobs abroad.

He said those who had encountered such syndicates to check with the relevant authorities first before agreeing to job prospects overseas.

“We implore the federal and Sarawak governments’ assistance to enable an early release of the 44 Sarawakians so that they can return home to their families.”

The Malaysians, including nine women, were detained on Dec 11 in Poipet, Banteay Mancheay, on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital, for allegedly being members of an international online gaming syndicate.

Upon investigation, the Malaysian embassy in Cambodia found that the detainees, who are mostly from Sabah and Sarawak, had been waiting for legitimate jobs while in Cambodia. — DayakDaily