KUCHING: Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman has given his assurance to the family of Sarawakian civil engineer Richard Lau, who is currently being detained in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) that “he is definitely not alone”.
In urging Lau’s family members to remain calm, Anifah assured them that the Malaysian Embassy in Dubai has advisors and counsellors to visit Lau while he is being placed on remand to facilitate investigation.
When asked if the UAE law of remand was unreasonable, Anifah said he could not comment much about it except to say that Malaysians too must respect the law of the country.
“We must respect their law. We may not agree but we must respect their law,” he said when contacted by The Borneo Post today.
According to Malay Mail Online, Lau has been stuck behind bars for the past nine months in Dubai after an Emirati partner accused him of stealing wages and commissions.
It was understood that Lau was arrested in April 2017 and his detention has been extended every fortnight despite the lack of evidence of wrongdoing as the public prosecutor requests more time to investigate the allegation.
His ordeal was also posted by family members and friends in Facebook. Family expressed fear for Lau’s safety and future when his remand order was extended from time to time without a charge against him being drawn or his unconditional release being set thus far.
Lau’s ordeal has also attracted the attention of a UK-based civil rights group, Detained in Dubai.
Lau’s family believed he is innocent and queried how the UAE can just arrest him without a warrant based on a mere complaint by a local and then detain him for months without a charge, while they take their time with investigations.
Malay Mail Online also reported that Lau was among eight people accused by Emirati Walid Jumaa Abu Shabas of allegedly stealing funds from a subsidiary of Malaysian marine transport company Shin Yang in Ras Al Khaimah, the UAE counterpart.
According to the UAE government website, a public prosecutor can only question a suspect within 24 hours and then either order his arrest of release.
All the others except Lau have been released, Detained in Dubai said.