Some 20,000 Malaysian students stranded abroad due to Covid-19 border closures

KOTA BARU – Malaysia has brought home thousands of students studying abroad as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted education, but an estimated 20,000 of its students are still stranded abroad, a government minister has said.

The government is working to get them home in stages despite the closure of international borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Mohd Redzuan Yusof said, as quoted by Bernama news agency on Saturday (July 18).

“For students who have completed their studies, we do not want to delay bringing them home and the Higher Education Ministry will ensure they will be brought home by their respective sponsors,” the news agency quoted him as saying.

“The government has also provided an allocation, which is not much, but enough to bring back the Malaysian students who are still stranded,” he told reporters after officiating at an event in Kelantan state.

Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan said there were several matters to be looked into first, such as the legality of flying its students home amid the border closures.

“For example, does the country allow international flights to enter or leave its border. Like in the US, the (Covid-19) cases are increasing. We are very concerned and we want to take advantage of its airspace, which is still open, to bring back the (Malaysian) students,” Bernama quoted him as saying.

Malaysia flew home more than 5,000 students from Egypt and 200 from Australia in recent weeks.

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