In the wake of riots and looting in the United Kingdom, Malaysians visiting or living in the UK have been urged to exercise
maximum caution and avoid areas that are presently characterised by rioting and violence.
“We’ve issued a safety advisory asking Malaysians to be cautious and be aware of the present uneasy situation in the country which they should bear in mind while travelling,” Zakaria Sulong, the London-based Malaysian high commissioner said.
Zakaria explained that the high commission had issued a safety advisory which was different from a travel advisory.
“We haven’t issued any travel advisory. We’ve merely asked our nationals to be cautious and take maximum precaution about their safety,” he clarified.
Zakaria urged Malaysian nationals to check the high commission’s website which had posted a “safety advice” for them.
The advisory reads: “Following the spread of riots and violent protests in various areas in London and a few other cities in the United Kingdom, all Malaysians living in or visiting the United Kingdom are advised to exercise maximum alert and vigilance while they are in public places, especially in areas affected by the riots.”
According to a World Bank estimate, there are some 70,000 Malaysians living in the United Kingdom, forming the largest Malaysian diaspora in Europe.
Besides the physical assault on a young Malaysian by a group of thugs who later had his belongings stolen in broad daylight, there have been no other attacks reported on Malaysians so far.
“We would like to help any Malaysian national in distress,” Zakaria said, adding that the mission was closely monitoring the situation in the UK.
However, as is the case with other Asians living in the UK, Malaysians have been shaken by this wave of violence.
Fear is particularly deep-seated among many Malaysian students, including those who travel to Malaysia Hall in London to offer prayers.
The Malaysian community has also been shaken by widespread rioting accompanied by looting incidents.
The display windows of some of the shops in the proximity of Malaysia Hall have been smashed, and the shops looted.
Meanwhile, an uneasy calm has returned to most parts of London but rioting continues in a number of other cities such as Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool.
The next few days will be very crucial for the law and order situation, according to British security experts.