Foreign missions in Malaysia keeping track of situation
CORONAVIRUS | Following the Malaysian government’s decision to enforce the movement control order to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases, foreign embassies in the country have put several measures in place to cope with the situation.
The measures include working from home, reducing the number of staff on duty, and shortening the working hours.
However, they are always in touch with their citizens through various communication channels like a 24-hour hotline and social media accounts and spare no efforts in assisting their citizens during these challenging times.
The movement control order is being implemented under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967 from March 18 to 31, 2020, as part of Malaysia’s efforts to contain the disease.
Azerbaijan ambassador to Malaysia Qaley Allahverdiyev (photo, above) said following the advice from the Malaysian Foreign Ministry, the embassy has implemented some restrictions, whereby it provides consular services for very urgent and time-sensitive situations.
He said the embassy is offering a 24-hour hotline service and uses social media to reach out to all the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Malaysia and three other Asean countries covered by the embassy. The hotline number is +6017 2398943.
“And (we) ask them to immediately contact our consular service, should they have any questions related to (the) Covid-19 pandemic,” he told Bernama in a reply following the Malaysian government’s decision to enforce the Movement Control Order from today until March 31.
Allahverdiyev said besides Malaysia, the embassy also covers Thailand, Myanmar and Brunei Darussalam.
Afghanistan’s ambassador to Malaysia, Mohib Rahman Spingar, said the number of staff on duty at the embassy has been reduced to two staff for every four hours daily to handle various matters.
He told Bernama that there are currently about 700 Afghan students as well as people from the business community in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the British High Commission in Malaysia, in a statement, said the high commission remains operational during the period of the order.
“Understandably, it will not be business as usual as we have started a remote working arrangement for members of our staff in order to observe the movement control order.
“Our priority is to make sure that British nationals in Malaysia are given the necessary consular support during this time, and to attend to their enquiries about the movement restriction,” it added.
The statement said British nationals who require consular services can contact 603-21702200 and it will be updating the travel advice (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malaysia) as well as its social media channels (@UKinMalaysia).
Cuba’s ambassador to Malaysia, Ibete Fernández Hernandez, said the embassy here is closed and the staff are working from home while only online consular services are given whenever possible.
“We are keeping contact with the small Cuban community here and all Cubans are fine. (We) hope the measures taken by the government help to control the spread of the virus,” she told Bernama.
Meanwhile, the embassy of Colombia said that they are observing all instructions given by the Malaysian government as well as the Colombian government.
“We are attending to the local Colombian community via our virtual channels of communication that we have in place,” the embassy said.
Meanwhile, ambassador of Denmark to Malaysia, Jesper Vahr said the embassy remains open and provide essential services to its citizens.
“For the time being, we maintain a 24/7 telephone contact possibility to our embassy staff for Danish citizens in Malaysia needing assistance.
“On top of that, Danish citizens abroad can always reach the Danish MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on a 24/7 basis,” he said.
Meanwhile, the High Commission of India in Malaysia said Indian nationals requiring emergency consular services such as emergency certificates may contact the 24/7 Helpline 018-3196715 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
“It is further notified that as per directive received from the government of India on March 17, no passenger, including Indian nationals, will be allowed to travel from Malaysia to India till the restrictions are in place”, it said in a statement.
Embassy of Iran’s Charge d’affaires Abdol Ali Maktabi Fard said that among the measures taken are shortening the working hours and having minimal staffing at the Consular section.
“We also asking Iranians in Malaysia to follow the Malaysian Government’ latest restriction,” he said, adding that Iranian citizens here are mainly university students.
Namibia’s high commissioner to Malaysia, Anne Namakau Mutelo said that in accordance with the movement control order by the Malaysian government, the commission’s office is also closed until March 31, but they continue to operate from homes.
“There are not many Namibian nationals in Malaysia but those students that are here are so far okay. We have no Malaysian students in Namibia,” she said.
Norway’s ambassador to Malaysia, Gunn Jorid Roset, said the embassy is closely following the outbreak development in the country and the main priority is to provide information and consular assistance to its citizens in Malaysia.