Hundreds of Thais stranded in Malaysia without health clearance

Hundreds of Thais stranded in Malaysia without health clearance

A returning Thai worker goes through the immigration process at the checkpoint in Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat on Monday, after crossing to Thailand from Malaysia. (Photo:  Waedao Harai)
A returning Thai worker goes through the immigration process at the checkpoint in Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat on Monday, after crossing to Thailand from Malaysia. (Photo: Waedao Harai)

NARATHIWAT: About 800 Thai workers are stranded in Malayasia's Kelantan state, unable to cross the border to Thailand because they have no money to pay for a fit-to-travel health certificate, one of the returnees said on Monday.

The man, who asked not to be named, said that since April 18 Thais who worked as cooks at restaurants in Malaysia had been returning to Thailand by land, via Kelantan, through the Sungai Kolok checkpoint. Most were from the southern border provinces. 

They were required to have a letter issued by the Thai embassy, or a consulate, identifying the border checkpoint they must travel through, and a fit-to-travel health certificate.

But, about 800 Thai workers remained stranded at the Rantau Panjang checkpoint, on the Kelantan side of the border. They were unable to cross to Sungai Kolok because they did not have the money to pay for the required health certificate, the man said.

These people wanted the government to help. Some had less than 100 baht in their pockets and they had run out of milk to feed their children. Bewcause of the curfew in Malaysia, they were not allowed to work to get the money they needed.

"They want to come home very badly, and are willing to go into quarantine," the man said.

A letter from the Interior Ministry's permanent secretary to provincial governors stated that from April 18 Thais stranded in neighbouring countries can return home via 23 permanent checkpoints in 21 border provinces.

Each checkpoint can process a maximum 100 returnees per day, to ensure facilities arranged for their return are not overwhelmed.



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