KUALA LUMPUR: Efforts are being made through all channels to ensure that victims of job scam syndicates abroad are brought home safely, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“The government views seriously the plight of Malaysians stranded in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. Always be careful of job offers abroad,” he said.

Separately, five more Malaysians who had fallen victim to job scam syndicates in Cambodia returned home.

“The five individuals arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport via Flight MH755 at 2pm on Monday,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

A total of 148 victims of job scams in Cambodia have been rescued out of 158 cases reported.

“Of the number of rescued victims, 29 are still in the immigration detention depot in Cambodia while the rest have returned home.

“The Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh is actively pursuing efforts to track down Malaysians who are reported to be victims of job scams,” the statement read.

The Malaysian embassies in these countries, the ministry said, were intensifying efforts to rescue Malaysians who were duped by these syndicates in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

It added that 16 Malaysians had been rescued in Thailand while 27 Malaysians had been saved in Laos and five in Myanmar.

Twelve victims of a syndicate in Thailand are being tracked down, as well as 28 and 54 Malaysians in Laos and Myanmar, respectively.

In another development, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said the proposed setting up of a special committee at the Asean level would be among the approaches to be discussed by the Cabinet at its meeting today to resolve the issue of Malaysians falling victim to job scams abroad.

He had earlier met with the families of job scam victims and representatives of some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) here.

The NGO representatives included Malaysian International Humanitarian Organisation secretary Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim and Malaysian Community Crime Care president Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

When questioned on whether the government would restrict the movement of Malaysians to prevent more people from becoming victims of job syndicates, Abdul Latiff said the government had no right to do so.

“We have no authority to stop Malaysians from travelling but if you want to travel, inform your family members.

“If you are offered a job, check the names of the agencies at the embassy of the country you are heading to,” he said.

Musa, who is a former Inspector-General of Police, said he had been in contact with the police at the D3 Anti-Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Division to obtain more information about these syndicates and hoped that the division would also be able to assist in the investigation and rescue of the victims. — Bernama