By Nelson Manneh
Gambians in Southeast Asia have recently appealed to the government of the Gambia to reconsider their plan to close the country’s diplomatic mission in Malaysia.
Foday Yarbou a Gambian residing in Malaysia, who wrote to this paper on behalf of Gambians living in Southeast Asia, said their attention was drawn to the Government’s plan to shut down the only Gambian mission in Southeast Asia located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He said this decision by the current government of The Gambia was brought to their attention when one of the local Newspapers in the Gambia published that the government was going to shut down the embassy.
“It was reported that the government’s only decision of shutting down this mission was as a result of financial constraints and also downsizing diplomatic services for effectiveness in operational costs,” he said.
Yarbou said they want to appeal to Gambia government to reconsider their decision as they strongly believed that closing the embassy will cause unreasonable hardship to many students and other Gambians in the region.
He said the mission is situated in a strategic location and it is of great significance to Gambians living in Southeast Asia.
He added that it is this mission that every Gambian rushes to when they are faced with difficulties.
“We have undoubtedly recognized the services that the mission is rendering to us,” he said.
He said they want to bring to the attention of the government that if this mission was of no use to them and the Gambia at large, then they would have not wasted their time, and energy to write a statement to the ministry and plead for the authorities to reconsider their decision.
“The mission fulfills its duties by helping Gambian citizens in Southeast Asia with immigration issues, passport renewal, provision of marital certificate, recommendation or attestation letters, reaching out to Gambian students in their various universities, helping their subject in emergency occurrences such as natural death and many other things,” he said
“The closure of this mission can be catastrophic and devastating. so, we once again appeal to the government not to close this mission, but rather in essence find way out in solving the financial problems as stated and look into the interest of its citizens living in this noble and productive region,” he said.
In conclusion, he said that they would like to sincerely thank the government of The Gambia for the support rendered to them over the years through The Gambian mission in Kuala Lumpur and they look forward to the positive consideration of their request.
The reporter went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Banjul to confirm the issue and to find out the reason (s) why the government of the Gambia want to close the embassy, but he was told that their public relations officer is not in town as he is the only person who is authorize to communicate directly to the media.