Gambian students have raised concerns over the news that the government of President Barrow is shutting down The Gambia’s only embassy in South-East Asia located in Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. The students’ representative says the closure of the embassy will be a big blow to their welfare and the necessities of other Gambians in the region because their urgent needs and emergencies will no longer be timely addressed.
“Actually, the closure of the embassy was brought to our notice when the former ambassador Ramzia Diab was there. She already left and went to The Gambia. The embassy informed students and people in the business community about the closure of the embassy that the government wants to close. It was very shocking news because of how significant the embassy is to us”, says Foday Yabou, a student of the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, Indonesia, majoring in International Relations.
He said the embassy and its staff had stood well for students all around South-East Asia. He revealed that the embassy has already started wrapping up as the ambassador has already left for Gambia ahead of December which has been targeted to finally shut down the service.
The group comprising students has written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad in Banjul in September. However, they are dissatisfied with non-response from the Ministry except ‘received with thanks.’
“…the saddest thing is, we wrote a letter to the Foreign Ministry and they never told us anything. All the problems we wrote in the letter, nothing was answered. It’s two months now and they never got back to us. We are worried. Let them help us. South-East Asia is a very big place. The Kuala Lumpur embassy is in a strategic location,” said Yabou.
Bottom part of the letter addressed to the PS, MoFA with signatures of students learning in various universities in South-East Asia
In the letter, the students say their plea if accepted, would avert exposing Gambian nationals, particularly the growing number of students in the area, to the discomforts born out of the closure.
“For if they are not satisfied with the work of the ambassador and her people, we put it to them to remove those people there and bring new people to help us. But the total closure of the embassy is something that’s going to be disastrous on Gambian citizens living in South-East Asia.”
The Ministry’s spokesperson Saikou Ceesay is out of town for comment. The Chronicle will engage the Ministry during this week for their reactions to the concerns raised by the students.