The government has requested Malaysia to test 73 Cambodians, who have served out their jail terms and 149 fishermen arrested for illegal fishing, for coronavirus before sending them back to the Kingdom.
Health Minister Mam Bun Heng told a press conference yesterday he had asked Malaysian authorities to have all of them tested for COVID-19 before they are repatriated, noting the government is paying attention to the welfare of Cambodians in Malaysia.
He said the 73 Cambodian who were jailed and the 149 arrested fishermen had been released by Malaysian authorities.
“We have asked the head of the government [Prime Minister Hun Sen] and he agreed for them to return to Cambodia,” Mr Bun Heng said.
“We have asked Malaysian authorities to have them tested in order to clear them of the virus. Those with negative results will be placed in quarantine upon their arrival in Cambodia,” he said. “Those who test positive need to receive medical treatment in Malaysia until they recover just like we have treated Malaysian patients in Cambodia.”
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said yesterday the Cambodian ambassador is working closely with Malaysian authorities over the repatriations.
“They [73 convicted] have already served their jailed terms,” he said. “They were convicted for various crimes, including going to Malaysia illegally without proper documentation.
He said the majority of them were detained for illegally entering Malaysia by boat.
Meanwhile Bangkok Post reported a Cambodian national among the 42 migrant workers in Songkhla who have been infected with COVID-19. They were among 53 new infections reported by the Thai government on Saturday.
The 42 were migrants who had been detained at the immigration centre in Songkhla for illegal entry, said Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
One of them is from Cambodia, 34 from Myanmar, three from Vietnam, two from Malaysia and one each from Yemen and India.
Mr Kuong said the Cambodian ambassador is working closely with Thai authorities regarding Cambodian migrants who test positive for COVID-19.
Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, said yesterday he welcomed efforts to repatriate the Cambodians from Malaysia.
“It is the obligation of the state to accept them,” he said, adding according to Malaysian immigration laws, persons entering illegally are jailed before they are released and deported to their respective countries.
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