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Malaysians stranded in KLIA amid confusion over COVID-19 entry ban

/ 01:22 PM September 08, 2020
KLIA airport Kuala Lumpur

Immigration officers said it was clear that Malaysians with all the proper documents would be allowed entry. EPA-EFE via The Straits Times/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA — About 200 Malaysians were stranded for hours at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) amid confusion over a new ruling barring people from 23 countries from entry and claims that there were no hotel rooms to quarantine the arrivals.

They were made to stay inside the airport waiting lounges for more than 10 hours on Monday (Sept 7) as ground staff – including airline staff, airport personnel and immigration officers – tried to sort out whether the new ruling applied to them as well.

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However, when contacted, immigration officers said it was clear that Malaysians with all the proper documents would be allowed entry.

Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also said the travel ban imposed on people from 23 countries with a high number of Covid-19 cases does not apply to Malaysians returning from these places.

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Ms Jolene Yap, who was among 50 Malaysians who arrived from Britain at about 6.30am on Monday, claimed that when she and the others disembarked, they were stopped from getting to the immigration counters despite showing letters of approval from the High Commission of Malaysia in Britain.

“At first, we were stopped because the ground staff were not sure whether Malaysians were allowed entry under the new ruling.

“After hours of waiting, an officer from the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) said that they could not find hotel rooms for us to be quarantined in.

“Then he gave all of us the telephone numbers of hotels and told us that we should try to book our own hotel rooms.

“Despite all of us calling the same list of numbers, we were told by the hotels – when we did manage to get through – that only Nadma can book rooms for quarantine and we cannot do it ourselves.

“We have been given the runaround and we are all tired from the long flight as it is,” said a frustrated Ms Yap.

At about 4pm, Ms Yap said she and fellow passengers were informed by Nadma that rooms were available for them and they were then moved to the quarantine stations in groups.

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TAGS: Airports, Aviation, Coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, KLIA, Malaysia
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