51 Malaysians stranded in Egypt to return with Brunei’s help

Azlan Othman

Fifty-one Malaysian citizens will be repatriated from Cairo, Egypt with the help of the Brunei Government flight which will carry Brunei students. The flight is scheduled to arrive in Brunei tomorrow, Malaysian media reported yesterday.

“The Malaysian Government expressed its gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on behalf of His Majesty the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Malaysian Government for giving the consent to board the Brunei government’s flight.”

This was said by Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar. “The Malaysian Government is set to repatriate 51 out of 86 Malaysians stranded in Cairo, Egypt due to flight cancellations and travel bans following the COVID-19 pandemic, with help from the Brunei Government,” he said.

“The Brunei Government agreed to board some of the Malaysian citizens in their flight following the communication between the Malaysian Foreign Minister and Brunei Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof,” Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said.

“Due to the limited space, only 51 Malaysians are allowed to board the Brunei Government flight,” he told a press conference yesterday.

The deputy foreign minister stressed that priority is given to elderly citizens and tourists. He said the 51 Malaysian citizens will be part of the Brunei Government’s repatriation mission, scheduled for tomorrow. “The flight is expected to arrive in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei at 8.40am on March 29,” he said.

“To make sure this repatriation process goes smoothly, the ministry via the Malaysian Embassy in Cairo has been communicating closely with the Brunei Embassy there,” he added. Earlier this week, Brunei’s Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) said they are working to bring back students comprising citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam outside the country including those in Egypt who wish to return home voluntarily.

It is one of the government’s initiatives to safeguard the welfare and safety of Brunei citizens and residents due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The MoRA is working closely with the Brunei Darussalam Embassy in Egypt and Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) to bring the students home.

The Islamic Studies Department also informed that the students who wish to return to the Sultanate voluntarily are required to fill an e-form obtained through a QR code provided to them.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) said the students will be subjected to self-isolation at the place designated by the government agency or at their own home (subject to conditions stated in the e-form by the MoRA).

The MoRA requested parents and guardians’ cooperation to fill the e-form to streamline the process of updating the data and for reference to government agencies. Failure to comply with the order of self-isolation is an offence.