Sungai Petani, Malaysia – The Malaysian government is intensifying efforts to rescue citizens trapped abroad due to human trafficking, adhering to the ‘right to return’ principle. Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail emphasized the government’s commitment to utilizing all available methods to ensure the safe return of Malaysians in distress overseas.
According to BERNAMA News Agency, the government’s rescue efforts are guided by a clear principle that prioritizes the right of Malaysians to return home, regardless of their location. This statement was made in response to reports that nearly 2,000 Malaysians, believed to be victims of human trafficking, have been stranded in various neighboring countries since last year.
The Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) Secretary-General Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim reported receiving numerous requests from families of victims, with over 1,200 individuals allegedly being held in Myanmar alone. Saifuddin noted that the government would leverage diplomatic channels, agency-to-agency connections, and intelligence sharing to track and rescue victims.
He also stressed the importance of relying on official figures reported to authorities for rescue operations and international cooperation. The home minister acknowledged that while NGOs may have different sources, official numbers are essential for establishing authoritative action and assistance.
Saifuddin highlighted the crucial role of family members in providing information for profiling rescued victims. The information gathered aims to differentiate between those naively trapped by syndicates and others who knowingly took risks. He mentioned that some cases involve individuals who faced financial troubles abroad and falsely claimed to be victims.
The home minister assured that the government’s operations, involving police-to-police cooperation with foreign countries, are integral to the Cabinet’s strategy led by the Foreign Ministry and supported by the Home Ministry.