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PUTRAJAYA, Feb 7 -- Malaysian diplomatic missions in China will continue their operations to provide consular assistance to countrymen and maintain close collaboration with the authorities of the host country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wisma Putra) said the cabinet decision to bring home non-essential staff and family members from the Malaysian diplomatic missions in China was made as part of the government’s state of preparedness in its response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic.
Wisma Putra in a statement said the decision was also made to minimise risks of exposure of Malaysian staff and their family members to the virus.
"This is certainly expected of any responsible government faced with crisis situation resulting from man-made or natural disasters. It was within this context as well that the repatriation of Malaysians from Wuhan was successfully undertaken recently with the full cooperation from the relevant authorities in China.
“In the same spirit, the government may also have to advise other Malaysians to return voluntarily should the situation warrant them to do so while being mindful of the determined efforts of the authorities of China to contain and overcome the epidemic,” it said.
It said any efforts by the government would be carried out in close consultation with and cooperation from the Chinese government.
"Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi held a telephone call on Feb 1, 2020. This close contact will continue to be maintained given the longstanding and very strong ties and partnership between the two countries," it said.
Wisma Putra asserted that the repatriation of Malaysians should never be regarded as anything beyond what it was actually intended namely, the government’s intention to ensure the welfare of Malaysians.
The ministry said Malaysia had stood and would continue to stand in solidarity with the government and people of China.
"Malaysia has every confidence in their preparedness, resilience, and ability to respond effectively to and overcome the current epidemic. This sentiment too was shared during the telephone call between the two foreign ministers," it said.
The ministry underscored that Malaysia still kept its doors open to visitors from China when many other countries did otherwise.
The only exception was for those from Wuhan and surrounding areas which have been known as the epicentre of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, Wisma Putra said.
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