A total of 2,742 Malaysians are currently in prison abroad for crimes including drugs, fraud, credit card forgery, as well as customs and immigration offences, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kamarudin Jaffar said the number was based on the latest information received from Malaysian diplomatic missions abroad.
He said the Malaysian missions abroad had a role in providing consular assistance to any Malaysian detained in a foreign country, in line with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963.
“The consular assistance includes notifying the family or next-of-kin and ensuring the welfare, safety and health of the detainee,” he said in reply to Richard Riot Jaem (GPS-Serian) who wanted to know the latest number of citizens imprisoned abroad and the ministry’s efforts or measures to assist them.
The deputy minister said the Malaysian diplomatic missions could also help in providing a list of local legal firms to be appointed by the detainees or their next-of-kin, if necessary.
Kamarudin said the government is always concerned about the welfare of every Malaysian abroad and is ready to provide the appropriate assistance.
However, he said the Malaysian diplomatic missions must also respect the local legal process and not interfere in the legal affairs of the country.
“A person arrested in a foreign country must also be prepared to go through the legal process in that country,” he said.
He advised Malaysians who are travelling or intending to travel abroad to always be vigilant and understand the rules and regulations of the country to avoid getting into trouble.