The Star today has lots of stories of how Malaysian students have been evacuated from Cairo in the face of all the protests and violence in the Egyptian capital.
Evacuation of Malaysians from strife-torn country proceeds smoothly.
Students home safely at last.
Malaysians to be out by Monday
Don't politicize evacuation delay says Muhyiddin.
And so, in Bolehland our government wants you to believe that everything is A-Ok!
Okay, now sit down, take a deep breath and read this account of one Malaysian family's experience with Malaysian efficiency in a crisis situation...
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2011
Stuck in Cairo, with NO help from the M'sian govt
OK, so my bro and his wife and 3 kids went to Cairo last week for a long-awaited holiday. They had a great time the first few days. Then, on Friday 28th Jan, the whole city 'blew' up. Their Egyptian guide (a Coptic Christian), and the Egyptian hotel staff were incredibly helpful to all of them. Their guide, who had taken them out sight-seeing that morning, KNEW that the situation was going to blow up after the Friday noon prayers, so he made sure he had them back at the hotel by then. The staff at the hotel kept the hotel doors locked, and made sure all their guests were safe.
THEN the "fun" started. No internet (since the Egyptian govt took the whole country off the internet), so my bro tried to call the embassy to find out what was happening - three days of calling, and the phone never got picked up! Very helpful... NOT!!! When they eventually managed to get through on Monday, they asked what the situation at the airport was like, as they were supposed to fly out on Monday night, at 00:15 hours (ie, early Tuesday 1st Feb morning). So, guess what the so-called situation room tells them? "Don't know. When you get to the airport and find out the situation, you call us."... !!!! I mean..... WHAT? What can anyone say to such idiocy? So, as you can see, the situation room had ZERO handle on the situation!
Their wonderful EGYPTIAN guide made sure he picked them up early on Monday and took them to the airport - it should have been just a 1 hour journey, but took far longer than that due to the riots and the craziness! They get to the airport and the guide stays with them, to help them try and get checked into their flights, etc. And the airport was an absolute mad-house. ALL Egypt Air flights were cancelled - and, unfortunately, it meant that their M'sian airlines flight, code share with Egypt Air, was also cancelled!! My bro kept trying to call the Embassy, and the phone was either NEVER picked up, or was engaged. OK, so, forget any possible help from that side. Totally, absolutely, USELESS!! Mind you, all other airlines, apart from EgyptAir, were still flying though with major re-scheduling, and the governments of other countries (US, UK, India, China, Japan, NZ, the Arab countries, EVEN CROATIA) were sending in planes to get their people out of Cairo. But, as of yesterday, no news from our "action-oriented, on the ball" govt about sending in planes to get OUR citizens out of the country! And TODAY they start sending planes? TODAY? What the hell took them so long? Question about LANDING RIGHTS? Hello, how come the OTHER countries did not have that problem? Only Malaysia?????
Embassy personnel from other countries, with jackets emblazoned with their country names, were going round and round the airport, trying to find their citizens... they even approached my bro and his family to see if they needed help..... and where were the so-called "People First, Performance Now" M'sian embassy personnel???? NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!! Not hide, nor hair.
Malaysian students, including lone female students, with no money, no food, no tickets, no nothing, stuck in the airport, not knowing what to do!! At least my bro and his family had the means (and the credit card availability) to get themselves on another flight (Emirates, to Dubai) out of Egypt late on Monday night/Tuesday morning... but what about those who had nothing? Where were our "caring" Embassy personnel? NOWHERE IN SIGHT! Not hide, not hair.
Oh, side story... when my bro called to tell me that their flight out of Cairo was cancelled, I called MAS here in KL, and they tell me the flight is leaving as scheduled!! Obviously news of the rioting, and the Egypt Air flight cancellation did not seep into MAS consciousness!! And they obviously never watched the news! When I told them that my brother and his family are IN CAIRO, and have been TOLD FIRST HAND that the flight is cancelled, the staff here are still insisting that the flight is leaving as scheduled. I mean, don't get me wrong - I absolutely LOVE MAS flight crew - but, MAN, their ground staff and procedures leave a LOT to be desired!
I am saddened, and horribly embarrassed, by the shoddy show put up by our govt and our embassy personnel in Cairo. I am so ashamed at this time to be called a Malaysian. I am also deeply grateful to the people in EGYPT, the EGYPTIANS, who helped my brother and his family so much, and deeply thankful that they made it home safe on Wednesday morning after 2 days stuck in Cairo airport and Dubai airport. My prayers go to all those who went through so much fear and shock, with no help from our govt, in Cairo, and I just hope and pray that they will ALL get home safe, with or without govt help.