Sarawak to send representative to Cambodia to help secure release of 44 Sarawakians

Abang Johari (third left) and Juma’ani (to his right) being welcomed by a lion dance at Lee’s residence.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Feb 8: The Sarawak government will send a representative to Cambodia to seek the release of 44 Sarawakians who have been detained in Banteay Mancheay, some 400km from Phnom Penh, said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here today.

“We are working with the embassy, and we will send somebody to Cambodia to negotiate. These are beside actions taken by the foreign ministry at the federal level,” the chief minister told reporters when met at Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin’s Chinese New Year open house in Tanjong Lobang here.

The 44 Sarawakians are aged between 18 and 20.

Asked whether there was any indication that the 47 Malaysians (44 of them Sarawakians) had been scammed into going to Cambodia, Abang Johari replied: “We will let our foreign ministry check on the details as this issue affects our foreign relations.”

He advised the people to be careful when looking for jobs abroad.

Abang Johari (front row, fifth right), flanked by Juma’ani and Lee, poses in a group photo.

The 47 Malaysians have been held by the Cambodian authorities since December last year, and the matter was only made known to some of their parents a month ago.

It was believed that they were promised high-paying jobs by scammers in exchange for about US$200. They were initially detained in a private home for weeks before the Cambodian police came and collared all of them.

Abang Johari assured that the state government was following this matter closely.

On another matter, Abang Johari said his administration was going to solve connectivity issues in this division to enhance the economy here.

“We’ll solve the problem (connectivity). It should be ok,” he said when asked to comment on prominent developer Datuk Lau Siu Wai’s statement yesterday that the hotel and housing sectors here were in a “financial crisis”.

Lau suggested that the state government promote Miri’s tourism industry and turn Miri into an education centre of excellence.

Abang Johari (fourth right), flanked by Juma’ani and Ting, taking part in tossing the ‘yee sang’ with other guests.

Meanwhile, after visiting Lee, Abang Johari and his entourage proceeded to Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting’s residence.

He was accompanied by his wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Minister for Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala, among others. — DayakDaily