Sunday, 6 February 2011

Malaysians left high and dry

WE HAD gone to Egypt for our family holiday to show our children one of the ancient wonders of the world with its rich and famous history.

Little did we expect to be part of another history that is taking part in Cairo right now.

It was most unfortunate that our holiday ended abruptly but we didn’t expect it to end with such a bad taste in our mouths – caused by our own people.

The riots started in full on Friday, Jan 28 after the afternoon prayers and we were informed by both our tour guide as well as the hotel authorities, to stay in and not go out.

All mobile phone lines and Internet services were cut by the Egyptian Government and our only contact with the outside world was watching CNN and Aljazeera.

The next morning at breakfast, the other guests of the hotel were instructed by their respective embassies on what to do.

We then tried to contact our embassy, especially when we heard all Egyptian Airlines tickets were cancelled.
‘TRIED’ is the operative word here. We finally got through in the evening (it was 1600hrs by which time the curfew was in force) - needless to say, we did not get any helpful advise or even simple information.

Instead, we were told to inform the embassy on the situation at the airport when we got there!

They didn’t ask our names, our hotel, whether we had any children with us or even if there were other Malaysians in the same hotel.

By this time, the United States, India and Turkey had already announced on TV that they were sending their own aircraft to help their respective citizens.

The next day, as soon as the curfew was lifted, our tour guide took us to the airport and helped us there among all the chaos.

We found out all Egyptian Airlines flights were indeed cancelled.

Meanwhile, since the mobile services were back, our travel agent (from Malaysia) texted us that our flights were confirmed from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur but to contact the Malaysian Embassy for help to get to Dubai.

She also gave us another number at the embassy, specially set up for this situation – needless to say, the person who was manning the phones was of NO help – he could hardly speak recognisable English and could speak NO Bahasa Malaysia at all!

My husband got fed up and just went to the Emirates counter and bought our tickets to Dubai.

There were so many Malaysian students at the airport and as a mother, my heart went out to them – especially the girls, as the Cairo airport was truly scary, no place to sit, no food and a security nightmare – so many bags just left lying around.

While waiting to check-in, we were approached by the various embassy personnel that were there – the US, British, Indian and even New Zealand – whether we were their citizens and whether we needed help.

I had no answer when my children asked me where were the Malaysian Embassy personnel.

Today I read in the papers that all Malaysian students are back safely – after 10 days? Hurrah!

But what about Malaysian tourists? What happened to the Malaysian Embassy personnel?

I would like answers on the service, or lack thereof, by the Malaysian Embassy to help us in our hour of need, as Malaysians.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, I would also like answers on the service, or lack thereof, by the Malaysian Embassy to help us in our hour of need, as Malaysians when I was in overseas!

    Since 1957:
    2 million Chinese have emigrated.
    – 0.5 million Indians have also emigrated overseas.
    – 3 million Indonesians migrated to Malaysia to become Malaysian citizens with Bumiputra status.
    as a result of Population Engineering: