By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, June 19: As many as 50 Malaysians who have been waiting for their repatriation flight in Nigeria is now calling for the government of Malaysia to send a repatriation flight without having to accommodate the Nigerians stranded in Malaysia.
A Malaysian said they have been informed that a repatriation flight has been scheduled on June 28, but has been worried as there has been no confirmation of the said flight.
To him, if the whole delay has been caused by accommodating Nigerians stranded in Malaysia, he hoped the Malaysian government could forget that part but simplified the process by bringing Malaysians home first.
In a press statement, the Malaysian said borders have been shut and all flights were halted since March 20, 2020.
In the efforts of bringing Malaysians back home, Malaysian High Commission (MHC) in Abuja, Nigeria worked day and night to execute a plan for repatriation.
“Numerous flights has been taken off from Nigeria since the lock down to bring back respective citizens to their home country. It’s been two and a half months since the MHC initiated the repatriation flights back to Kuala Lumpur,” said the Malaysian who refused to reveal his name in case his return on the repatriation flight may be jeopardised.
He said the first flight was supposed to take off on the May 31, 2020. The plan was to fly a chartered Air Peace Boeing 777 flight from Lagos to Kuala Lumpur in exchange of Nigeria citizens in Kuala Lumpur.
He claimed that due to the delay in Nigeria airport’s preparation to accept their citizens, the flight was pushed back to June 20, 2020, and June 28,2020 in the latest update.
To him who has been stranded in Nigeria for three months, the big question here is: What causes the delay? Is it really going to take 28 days to get the airport ready?
“We need action to be taken immediately for the Malaysians here in Nigeria. 24,000 Malaysians are stranded all over the world but Nigeria is in a totally different situation.
“Hope is on the government of Malaysia to prioritise and expedite the repatriation of fellow Malaysians here. With the second wave outbreak in Beijing now, we do not know when the next border closure will happen. It will be a lot harder to travel if airports around the world halted their operation once more.
“We are here to ask the government of Malaysia to send a one way flight from Lagos to Kuala Lumpur. There are no promises on the flight on the 28 June 2020 as we have hear nothing at all and no response from the Nigeria government.
“We hope Malaysian government will assist some of the Malaysians here in the form of loan for their flight as they are running out of cash here due to the lock down.
“Some have not even been being paid for the duration of waiting for flight by their employer. Situation is really bad here with poor enforcement of MCO (Movement Control Order), high crime rate and unstable electricity supply (intermittent blackouts for few hours in a day).
“Once again, we really hope the government of Malaysia to prioritise our embarkation as soon as possible,” said the Malaysian.
On June 3, DayakDaily broke the news that 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 sent 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 asked 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 had 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 the Malaysian High Commission in Nigeria has yet to obtain approval from the government of Nigeria for the evacuation flight. -DayakDaily