Hassan al-Kontar, the Syrian national, claiming refugee status in Kuala Lumpur Airport 2’s departure and arrival gates will be deported back to Syria according to Malaysia’s Deputy Home Minister Mohd Azis Jamman.
Speaking at the launch of National Registration Day, were we reported that the deputy minister was informed he was Malaysia’s ONLY Mohd Azis Jamman, he told media that al-Kontar had previously declined assistance from other countries, including Malaysia.
“I was made to understand that there were countries which offered to help him but he refused. He only wants to seek refuge in Canada,” he said.
Syrian embassy officials have asked him to return to Syria, but he maintains that he will be conscripted into the army as a 37-year-old.
Mohd Azis reiterated what had been previously reported: Hassan had no interest in staying in Malaysia. “We cannot let him stay at the airport. It doesn’t make sense.”
“He only wants Canada but I was told that Canada would take two years to accept him, probably due to some processes,” he said. Other countries who had offered to help the refugee were not revealed, according to online portal Malaysiakini.
His story hit headlines earlier this year, after Hassan, who had previously lived and worked legally in the United Arab Emirates, found himself in limbo with few options left after he was denied entry into Cambodia, as well as denied boarding on a Turkish Airlines flight to Ecuador, where he was hoping to claim asylum. Hassan had claimed that he could not re-enter Malaysia as he had previously overstayed his visa in the country.
An unfortunate ending for a man whose plight was often likened to the Tom Hank’s film The Terminal, often by people who probably didn’t watch the movie, but understood the concept of being “stuck” at the airport. While Hank’s character was stateless in the film, Hassan’s predicament was more nuanced: He was still a Syrian citizen, and his imminent return to the war-torn country was always a risk, which seems like his soon-to-be reality.