Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah today contacted Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn to express Malaysia’s aspiration to see that all 47 Malaysians detained at the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison are released immediately.
Saifuddin expressed his gratitude to the Cambodian deputy prime minister for his concern on the matter.
"I also request that Cambodia gives its cooperation in ensuring the welfare of Malaysians are protected,” he said in a statement.
Saifuddin said he also extended Malaysia's appreciation for the cooperation rendered by the Cambodian government, especially in allowing several consular visits from the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh on the detainees.
He added that two senior officials from Wisma Putra, the consular division secretary and the head of the Legal Division, had left for Banteay Meanchey today to continue discussions with the Cambodian authorities concerning the detentions.
Last Thursday, Wisma Putra confirmed the detention of the 47 Malaysians since Dec 11 last year, on charges of cheating, initiating and carrying out illegal online gambling activities.
Saifuddin said he had emphasised that Malaysia respected the sovereignty of the Cambodian law, and that Putrajaya always reminded Malaysians to obey local laws in other countries.
"In this matter, Malaysia had requested that consideration be given to speed up the matter so that they could return to their families immediately."
The minister added that the Temporary chargé d'affaires at the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh, Ruzaimi Mohamad, had been in Banteay Meanchey since yesterdayto give continuous consular assistance to the Malaysian nationals detained.
The consular visit was a follow-up to the consular assistance rendered by the Embassy official on Jan 22 (2019).
On the initiative of the embassy, Saifuddin said a doctor from NGO Hospital Beyond Boundaries, also participated in the visit to ensure that the health condition of the detainees was good.
"The Foreign Ministry will continue to closely monitor developments in the case and will take appropriate measures to return them to their families in Malaysia,” said Saifuddin.
The Malaysian Embassy had also facilitated the visit of Julau Member of Parliament, Larry Sng together with several family members of the detainees to visit the Banteay Manchey Prison today, he said.
“I was informed that the 47 detainees are being well taken care off, there is enough food for them, and the chief even buys halal food for the Muslims."
"I was also told that the prison authorities were also concerned when some detainees developed skin rashes.
"A medical officer who is with us on this visit has supplied them with the necessary medicines," he told Bernama News Channel in Banteay Meanchey today.
Sng added that should the detention be prolonged he would try to bring more family representatives to Cambodia.