Saturday, April 20

Sng: Detainees well treated, hopeful of being released

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Sng (centre) speaks to the media after his visit to the prison in Cambodia. Zunita is at left.

SIEM REAP, Cambodia: The 47 Malaysians held in a provincial jail here over alleged involvement in illegal online gambling are hopeful of the Malaysian government securing their release.

This was said by Julau MP Larry Sng following his visit to the prison yesterday, in which he noted the detainees were well treated although a few of them had developed skin rashes.

The visiting delegation comprised two family members and five Malaysian media practitioners.

According to Sng, he was told the detainees were properly fed and that the prison head had come up with his own money to buy food for them.

“Their welfare is being taken care of. They are hopeful of coming back to Malaysia as soon as possible,” he told a press conference after the visit, adding he would update the detainees’ families on their situation upon his return to Malaysia today (Feb 14).

“I will arrange a meeting with the deputy prime minister (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) together with some family members, to talk about the actions that can be taken through diplomatic channels.

“I will also be in touch with Wisma Putra to see what they can do on their part,” he added.

Among those present with Sng at the press conference was Zunita Sedini, who was overcome with emotions upon seeing her detained son Yusuf Islam Abdul Halik.

“Of course I’m very, very sad. I managed to meet my son and we hugged. I cannot even begin to describe my feelings seeing him in prison,” she said, adding she also met the 46 other detainees.

Zunita expressed her gratitude to the Cambodian government for granting the delegation permission to visit the detainees, and called on the other families to remain patient as the Malaysian government works to secure their release.

The other family member at the press conference was the sister of detainee Chong Jun Khong, who requested not to be named by the media.

She said her brother appeared healthy and hoped he and the others would be released soon to reunite with their respective family.

The delegation arrived at the prison around 11.30am local time, with only nine members granted entry – Sng, the two family members, and Malaysian embassy officials.

Journalists were prohibited from entering the prison.

Photographs taken within the vicinity of the prison were also requested by the warden to be deleted, with all mobile devices and cameras screened to ensure none contained any photos of the facility.

The nine who were allowed to enter were only given a 20-minute window to meet the detainees before being asked to depart.

Meanwhile, the visit also revealed that 40 of the 47 detainees are from Sarawak – not 44 as previously indicated.

Another four are from Peninsular Malaysia while three are Sabahans.

Thirty-three of the Sarawakians are from Kuching, followed by six from Sibu and one from Sarikei.