Works minister mulls how to bring Sarawak students back amid MCO

Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Apr 22: Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof is looking for the best option to solve the issue of Sarawakian students being stranded in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Labuan.

Fadillah said there are as many as 18,000 Sarawakian students studying in these three areas and many are now stranded due to movement control order (MCO).

“They were asked not to return to Sarawak due to MCO. This is the directive from the Ministry of Health. So, many stay put, some staying at campus and others renting a place themselves.

“They were asked to stay because we don’t want them to be exposed to Covid-19 or their families to be exposed. The objective is to prevent Covid-19 from spreading,” said Fadillah who had a video conferencing meeting with the students last week.

He said the option to bring back these students to Sarawak is on the table and he is now looking into it.

The main challenge in bringing back these Sarawakian students is the shortage of flights.

“There are 18,000 Sarawakian students studying outside Sarawak in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Labuan. And there is only one flight each week from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching.

“That is why we need to strategise how to bring back our students to Sarawak, if we intend to,” Fadillah told DayakDaily.

He said chartering a flight is one of the options but with the huge number of students, his concern is whether one flight is enough to cater for them. If there is a need to charter more, he is also concerned of the total cost that will be incurred.

“I am still looking into it and I will discuss with the Sarawak government on the issue,” said Fadillah.

Fadillah, who is Petra Jaya MP said the issue has been brought to the attention of the National Disaster Committee Meeting. —DayakDaily