Monday, June 24

State mulling sending a representative to Cambodia to negotiate release of Sarawakians


Abang Johari (right) paying a visit to Lee Kim Shin at the latter’s open house.

MIRI: The state government may send a representative to Cambodia to facilitate negotiations and the subsequent release of the 44 Sarawakians who had been detained by the Cambodian authorities in a provincial jail.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak has been in constant contact with the Malaysian Foreign Office representative in Kuching on the issue of detention and is adopting a two-pronged approach to the issue.

“We have been informed earlier of the detention of the 44 Sarawakians by Cambodian authorities but took the stand to allow negotiations by the Malaysian and Cambodian governments to be carried out without the glare of publicity,” he said.

“Since talks are still ongoing, we cannot publicise it otherwise, it could send the wrong message,”Abang Johari said when interviewed by the press at the Chinese New Year Open House of Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin in Miri today.

Abang Johari urged Sarawakians to verify any claims of allegedly high-paying jobs advertised by recruitment agents to avoid being duped into participating in illegal activities abroad.

“We got the information earlier from the Foreign Ministry and we’ve let them handle it since it was under their purview but I would like warn Sarawakians to not to succumb to such fake agencies.

“They must check the veracity of such job offers before going abroad to work,” he cautioned.

Meanwhile, SUPP is working its ties with an advisor to the Cambodian government to find out more details about the 44 Sarawakians languishing in a provincial jail there since the end of last year.

Party president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said the party is in contact with the advisor to seek ways and means to assist the group detained in the foreign country.

He said the party is pursuing both formal and informal channels of communication on this matter.

“I can’t say much at this point as details are very sketchy but we are doing our best to help, “ he said when approached by The Borneo Post.

The plight of the 44 Sarawakians languishing in Cambodian jail was highlighted on Thursday by Julau MP Larry Sng , who said these victims, aged between 18 and 20, were promised high-paying jobs before they were brought to Cambodia last year.

One of the victims, Ahasius Peter from Kampung Sagah off Sungai Moyan, Matang in a message addressed to his brother, Ahasius Peter appealed to his family to be calm.

“Don’t worry about me, I am ok here. I was scammed. Now I am in Cambodian jail. Tell mother not to worry. I am okay here. I may be out of here soon. Still waiting for a decision from the embassy,” noted Ahasius.