Thursday January 24, 2013
Quality control inspector confirmed dead, another one still missing
PETALING JAYA: Quality control inspector Chong Chung Ngen – one of five Malaysians reported missing following the hostage drama in In Amenas – has been killed.
The Malaysian embassy in Algiers confirmed this yesterday while disclosing that another Malaysian, Tan Ping Wee, remained missing.
“The Government of Malaysia wishes to express its sincere condolences to Chong’s family,” Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said in a statement yesterday.
He said the embassy was working with employer JGC Construction Ptd Ltd in bringing back the 55 year-old’s body.
Chong’s wife, Karen Tham Yoke Hing, 54, said news of her husband’s death came “all of a sudden” and that the family was still in shock.
“First, I was told he disappeared and then we learnt that he was killed,” she said.
“He had just travelled outstation for work. No one in our family is able to accept this,” she said at her home in Ipoh.
The couple has a daughter who is in university.
Anifah said the Government was concerned about Tan’s fate, adding that the Algerian authorities had not stated details of the rescue operation in their statement or had the complete list of the missing hostages.
“The ministry has deployed a senior diplomat to assist the embassy to expedite efforts in locating the missing Malaysia,” said Anifah. “This is to ensure a smooth coordination with the Algerian authorities.”
Anifah said both the ministry and the embassy had established communication lines with countries whose citizens were involved in the incident.
This, he said, was to obtain any latest information as well as to expedite intelligence sharing.
Terrorists had held hundreds of hostages at a gas exploration complex in In Amenas, near the Libyan border, on Jan 16.
Three other Malaysians – Ravi Kappusamy, Lau Seek Chiang and Patrick Purait Awang – are confirmed safe.
Ravi, a construction engineer, looked relieved as he arrived at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas at 5.20pm yesterday.
He briefly hugged his wife Doreen Michael Tajie, 45, two children and sister K. Shanthi, 45, and commended the Government for his safe return home.
The 48-year-old then promptly entered his car and left.
Earlier while awaiting her father’s arrival, daughter R. Sharmilaah Deve expressed relief.
“The whole family is happy that he is finally coming back,” said the 18-year-old. “We have been worried sick for the past few days.”
Lau and Awand are currently in Algiers. Arrangements are being made to fly Lau back while Patrick had volunteered to remain there to assist in the search for his colleague.