The Malaysian High Commission in Sri Lanka advises its citizens of the island nation to be cautious | Malaysia

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Security members walk past a burnt vehicle along a road, a day after it was set on fire by protesters in Colombo on May 10, 2022. – AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 – The Malaysian High Commission in Sri Lanka has advised Malaysians residing in the island nation to be cautious and always abide by the prevailing rules and regulations following the economic crisis and the security situation in this country.

In an email interview with Bernama, the high commission said that during the emergency where the curfew was imposed like now, Malaysians were advised to stay indoors.

“As for Malaysians planning to travel to Sri Lanka, they should consider postponing their trip until the curfew is lifted. This is to avoid unnecessary inconvenience upon arrival in Sri Lanka,” advised the high commission.

Of the total number of Malaysians there, he said that currently there are 85 Malaysians registered with the High Commission in Colombo.

They are mainly Malaysians working in Sri Lanka as well as their family members and Malaysians married to Sri Lankans. Most of them stay in the capital, Colombo.

He said to be in constant contact with the High Commission, a WhatsApp group as well as social media such as Facebook and Twitter have been set up to facilitate communication with Malaysians residing in Sri Lanka.

“We are always ready to help all Malaysians in distress,” he said when asked if the high commission was fully prepared to deal with all eventualities, including the need for helping Malaysians there if the current crisis persists.

In its overall assessment of the current economic and security situation, the High Commission explained that the economic situation in Sri Lanka today is critical, as essential items such as fuel, cooking gas, medicines and some commodities food was not readily available in the market.

“Many vehicles had to queue to buy fuel. On top of that, there are frequent power outages every day. The Sri Lankan Rupee has lost nearly 90% of its value since April 2022. This has triggered multiple price spikes which have caused high inflation in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The High Commission said the people of Sri Lanka were very frustrated with the dire economic situation and many of them took to the streets to protest against the government.

“Unfortunately, the month-old mostly peaceful protests were halted when they were attacked by supporters of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 9. As a result, a curfew was imposed. imposed until May 11, 2022,” he said.

Asked whether the operations of Malaysian companies have been affected in any way, he said that so far Malaysian companies that have operations in Sri Lanka have not been hit hard by the economic crisis in the country.

Malaysian investment in Sri Lanka is mainly in sectors such as telecommunications, information technology (IT), finance, manufacturing of lubricants and general trade. Malaysia’s total investment in Sri Lanka is approximately US$2.6 billion (RM11.4 billion).

Our most important investment is Dialog Axiata in the telecommunications sector, he said.

In 2021, bilateral trade between the two countries recorded a respectable US$730 million.

“Bilateral trade has picked up rapidly after the devastation of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the high commission said.

Rajapaksa announced his resignation as prime minister yesterday as violent protests erupted.

Sri Lanka, with some 22 million people, gained independence in 1948.

The island nation is now facing its worst economic crisis since independence, stemming from a shortage of foreign currency which has in turn led to severe shortages of essential supplies such as fuel, cooking gas, food and medicine .

Days-long protests sparked by the economic and political crisis saw the worst clashes yesterday, which left seven people dead and more than 200 injured.

A member of a ruling party also died in the violence. — Bernama

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