Indonesian Consul at Tawau Heni Hamidah and several related officials witnessed their departure at the port.
The 50 Indonesian citizens are primarily Indonesian migrant workers, who have completed their work contracts and also Indonesian tourists.
They were sent home with the KM Nunukan Ekspres motor vessel that was specially brought in to take them to the Tunontaka Nunukan Port in North Kalimantan. Furthermore, the Indonesian citizens will be dispatched again to their hometown after undergoing a series of examination processes.
Hamidah briefly interacted with a participant named Wata Bin Badda, aged 80 years, from Bone, South Sulawesi, who reportedly lived alone in Sandakan area, Sabah, and led a homeless existence before being handled by the Indonesian Consulate and finally sent home.
The Indonesian citizens partaking in the repatriation program came from various provinces in Indonesia, such as North Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and West Java.
To join the special repatriation program, they must first register with the consulate by attaching the required documents. The consulate will then seek permission from the authorities in Sabah, Malaysia. After obtaining the approval, preparations for the repatriation procedure will commence.
This special program is conducted by continuing to strictly adhere to health protocols to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. All participants are also urged to attach the latest copies of the negative PCR test results.
This program was conducted in collaboration between the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau and various agencies, such as the Secretariat of the Sabah State government, the Sabah State Security Council, Immigration, Customs and Excise, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), and Indonesian government agencies in Nunukan.
The Malaysian government had yet to allow the Tawau Ferry port to operate normally.
Since the COVID-19 Movement Control Order (MCO) was applied in Malaysia in March 2020, the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau has facilitated the repatriation of 1,142 Indonesian citizens barring tourists and workers whose contracts have ended. This number excludes the repatriation of Indonesians deported and the repatriation of students, who received scholarships to continue their education in Indonesia.
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