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Egypt: Government To Bear Evacuation Costs – Najib

By Saturday February 5th, 2011 No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given the assurance that the government will bear the costs of bringing home all Malaysian students from crisis-torn Egypt.

The prime minister said he would discuss the matter with the parties concerned, namely Tabung Haji, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.

“Parents need not bear the costs of bringing their children home, except in cases where they have already bought tickets for their children … we won’t be able to reimburse that.

“But we will bear the costs of the operations we are currently carrying out. Parents need not pay anything,” he told reporters after launching the “Mosque Visit” programme at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baharu, here Saturday.

He added that the government had a rough estimate of the costs involved but said that he would have to discuss with the parties concerned before making any announcement.

“We have a rough estimate but I want to discuss first with the parties concerned before giving the actual figure,” he said.

Najib also said that the evacuation process was going on smoothly, with 6,800 students having been flown out of Egypt so far.

He said that 14 flights were carried out Saturday, carrying 3,500 students.

“The evacuation process is nearing its completion … after today and tomorrow, there will be only a few remaining but we will continue with the mission until everyone is taken out,” he said.

He added that the operations showcased the total defence concept, with the government pooling the resources available including those of the private sector in undertaking a massive evacuation mission.

“These assets include those from Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Royal Malaysia Air Force and Tabung Haji. This is the biggest mobilisation of assets ever carried out to secure the safety of Malaysians,” he said, adding that they were brought to Jeddah first to ensure fairness to all.

“If we fly them direct to Kuala Lumpur, it means that the aircraft need to make long-haul flights, which takes time. This will be unfair to those who are still in Egypt.

“There will be dissatisfactions and they will ask why some of them are going home while the rest remain in uncertainty in Egypt,” he said.

He also expressed gratitude to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Turki Abdullah Al Saud, for bearing the costs of two Boeing 747 flights to bring the Malaysian students from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur.

He also thanked King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia for allowing Malaysian aircraft to use the kingdom’s airspace and granting them landing rights in Jeddah.

The prime minister said King Abdullah told him that the Saudi Arabian airspace was open wide for Malaysian aircraft to carry out the mission.

“This is achieved because of the good relations between both countries,” he said.

On claims that the government had no money to finance when operations, Najib said the allegations were a big lie.

To a question, Najib said the opposition parties should come forward and help the government in carrying out the undertaking, and said that the matter was not about politics but about the safety of the people.

“There is no need to politicise this. We will bring all to safety, irrespective of whether they are ‘blue people’ or ‘green people’. There is no need to spread stories which are not true,” he said.

Source : Bernama

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