PETALING JAYA – More than 100 Malaysians working for syndicates in Cambodia have been rescued by the Malaysian embassy there since 2018, says Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim.

It has not been an easy feat as the embassy also had to go through procedures set by the Cambodian government before these Malaysians could be flown home.

There is also another side of the story.

Some of the Malaysians had refused to be rescued or leave Cambodia.

“We have rescued many but many also don’t want to go back to Malaysia. Some of them ran away from home, some ran away from ‘ah long’ (loanshark).

“Sometimes they don’t want to tell their parents the truth.

“When the parents don’t know what to do, they create stories that their children got kidnapped and were forced to work but when we went to rescue them, they said they don’t want to go back,” said Mr Eldeen.

He said the embassy had been working hard on this as they felt for the parents who missed their children.

“We are trying very hard to get them out but all have their own specific case,” Mr Eldeen said, noting that frustrated parents tend to take their grievances to MPs, state representatives or the press without grasping the situation.

He stressed that the embassy could not just fly the Malaysians out as soon as they were rescued as there were procedures that must be followed.

Those who have violated Cambodian immigration laws are required to serve their sentence before they can leave the country but the Malaysian embassy will intervene when this happens.

“Some of the Malaysians came to Cambodia illegally via lorong tikus (secret passages) and were without travel documents.

“But the embassy can plead for them to be deported instead of being sent to jail,” he said when contacted.

After raids on the syndicates, the Cambodian authorities would send rescued Malaysians to the immigration depot to be investigated and have their documentation done.