SEPANG, July 21 (Sin Chew Daily) — Close to a thousand illegal migrants taking part in the repatriation calibration program were stranded at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
A check at the KLIA revealed large numbers of illegal migrants applying for the repatriation calibration program.
Many were stranded at the airport due to the time-consuming procedures involved for clearance.
Some had bought their air tickets but did not manage to board their flights on time. They ended up waiting for help at the airport after spending their money to pay for the tickets, COVID-19 tests as well as the fines imposed on them before they could leave the country.
It is learned that the immigration department has set up a 24-hour special counter at the airport since July 5 to speed up the repatriation calibration program application process.
Despite the 24-hour operation, the authorities are still unable to cope with the large numbers of illegal migrants applying to leave the country.
Large numbers of foreigners with suitcases were seen at the car park located at Block C, some lying on the floor to rest.
The foreigners were told to remain at the car park at Block C as the special counter for the repatriation calibration program at the airport's departure hall was overcrowded.
Immigration Department Director-General Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said earlier that the illegal migrants who fulfilled the criteria were able to leave Malaysia by arriving at the airport six hours before flight departure time without having to go through an online appointment.
The criteria listed are possession of valid travel documents, air tickets to return to their countries of origin, RM500 fine to be paid by debit card, credit card or Touch 'n Go with the report of RT-PCR test conducted 72 hours before departure.
Many were stranded despite arriving at the airport a day earlier to complete the procedures required under the program.
A foreigner who declined to be named said many of his friends used up all their savings to buy their air tickets and paid for the RT-PCR tests but did not manage to board their flights.
Many were trapped in financial dilemma having emptied all their savings.
The repatriation calibration program, initially from November 16 last year to June 30, has been extended until the end of the year.