KUCHING: Julau Member of Parliament Larry Sng, who played a significant role that brought about yesterday’s release of 47 Malaysians detained in Cambodia, said he had anticipated an early release a few days ago.

On Wednesday, he had left Cambodia with family members of the Malaysian detainees, aged 19 to 44, as well as the media to see the real situation on the ground at the Banteay Meanchey prison about 446 kilometres from Phnom Penh.

“We have expected an early release a few days before but, nevertheless, we don’t want to give false hopes to family members should this news not materialise,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

On the news that the released Malaysians, including 40 from Sarawak would be flying home tomorrow, Sng said a representative, Mohd Azra, who is also a family friend of one of the released Malaysians, left for Siem Reap, Cambodia early today to help sort out the flight arrangement.

He said some technical issues had to be sorted out before the majority of the released Malaysians could depart from Cambodia, pending seat availability on the flights being provided by AirAsia.

AirAsia would also be providing flights for the freed Malaysians of Sarawak origin to return to their respective hometowns, he said, adding that he was grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their cooperation.

Sng said it was also magnanimous of the Sarawak government to take an interest in the matter by sending a delegation to meet the 47 Malaysians while they were still at the Banteay Meanchey prison.

He also credited Sarawak special advisor (Sarawak Affairs) in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office Datuk Hafsah Harun and several non-governmental organisations for their involvement as well as the public for their concern and prayers in securing the early release of the 47 Malaysians.

Sng also expressed his gratitude to Wisma Putra, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, International Non-Govermental Organisation head Datuk Dr Mustapha Ahmad Marican and Cambodian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Oknha Datuk Dr Othsman Hassan for their timely intervention in the matter apart from the local and international media.

The 47 released Malaysians have been brought to a hotel in Banteay Meanchey town pending their return to the country and were released with no criminal charges against them upon receiving the green light from the Cambodian Prime Minister.

— BERNAMA