Egypt unrest: Malaysia may fly out more of its nationals


Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia, which has flown out 5,000 of its nationals from Egypt, would mount another operation if the situation there worsens, says Prime Minister

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Mohammed Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

The prime minister said the government would be prepared to do so if the students’ lives were in danger.

Egypt has been facing a massive political turmoil since Jan 25 with tens of thousands of protesters demanding the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak, who has ruled for nearly 30 years, has said that he is ready to step down at the end of his term in September, but not now.

An estimated 7,000 Malaysians are in Egypt, either as workers or asstudents at Islamic seminaries.

Malaysia flew out its people to Jeddah after Saudi Arabia permitted transit facilities. Malaysian airliners are in the process of transporting them back home.

Called “Op Piramid”, officials say this is the biggest airlift they have ever conducted.

Prime Minister Razak personally welcomed the first batch that flew home last weekend.

The Malaysian education ministry plans to talk to Egyptian authorities to allow a large number of students to take their examinations at home so that they do not miss their academic year, New Straits Times said.

As many as 1,439 more Malaysians arrived home from Jeddah Wednesday; the foreign affairs ministry believes that the entire exercise to bring back the remaining 3,684 still in Saudi Arabia will be over by Sunday.

“We can make this possible if we continue to fly about 1,000 to 1,500 of them daily from now onwards,” said Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister A. Kohilan Pillay.