BANGKOK-Officials are preparing to address the problem of Thais in Malaysia being deceived into paying 4,000 to 6,000 baht to return to their home country, despite holding expired passports or a lack of medical documentation, and then being left outside the border at Narathiwat.
The Director-General of the Department of Information, and Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cherdkiat Atthakorn, indicated this week that the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is coordinating with the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Royal Malaysia Police to provide care to Thai citizens still in the country. Local authorities are registering Thais for the journey home while telling all that only those approved by the Thai embassy will be able to cross the border. Police have set up checkpoints between Malaysian states to monitor Thais traveling north without the needed documentation.
Mr. Cherdkiat assured the public that efforts are being made to manage Thais abroad trying to return home, and have gained permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand to fly nationals home. Thais outside the country will be able to travel back on flights sent to pick up foreigners leaving the Kingdom, cargo flights and chartered flights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Those returning will have to receive prior approval and take responsibility for any payments to the ministry to help negotiate pricing for flights marked up in the current circumstances.
Consideration for approval includes the availability of flights, and the situation of travelers as well as the nation’s own readiness to provide quarantine facilities. Priority is to be given to groups such as the elderly, members of the clergy, students and the unemployed.(NNT)