PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Syrian man who has been stranded at the second terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for over a month may be allowed to stay temporarily in Malaysia, provided he passes a security vetting process, said Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
Datuk Nur Jazlan said his ministry is aware of Hassan al Kontar's case. Videos on his plight have gone viral on social media.
"The ministry will consider issuing the man a special pass but under the Syrian Refugee Programme here which has been running for over two years."
"There are currently over 3,000 refugees under the programme," he told reporters after attending an event.
"He has to be vetted first to ensure there is nothing wrong with his background in his home country."
He did not indicate how long the vetting process would take.
Reuters reported that the 36-year-old Syrian has been stuck in transit at KLIA 2 for more than a month.
But Mr al-Kontar, reached by Malay Mail Online (MMO) news site, said living in Malaysia would be difficult even if he were given a special pass to enter the country.
He said he is worried that he would struggle to find a job in Malaysia and may end up a refugee again when his passport or special pass expired.
"I am extremely grateful that the Malaysian government has acknowledged my situation but something like removing me from the blacklist or giving me a pass is a short-term solution to the life-long problem I face," he told MMO.
The Syrian said he needed to enter a country that has lower living expenses.
"It is too expensive here in Malaysia, I've also tried looking for jobs here but it did not work out," he told MMO. "I need to go somewhere that will give me a refugee visa, I never want to be placed in this predicament again."