Family and 2 men stuck at KL airport

IN LIMBO: Mr Mohammed Abulabbad at KLIA showing his cancelled boarding pass for a flight to Cairo.

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian airport authority last Saturday rescued eight travellers "lost in transit" in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

Among them were a Syrian family of six who had been staying in the KLIA's transit lounge since July 1. Their plight was uncovered after Palestinian Ahmed Kanan's 54-day sojourn at the airport made the news.

Teacher Khaled Ali, 40, his wife Rwaida Shahada, 36, and their four children had been squatting within a narrow walkway at the transit lounge.

The family handed their passports and US$10,000 (S$12,620) to a man in Abu Dhabi who had offered to help them get to Sweden to seek medical treatment for their 11-year-old son. When they landed at KLIA where they were supposed to transit, they found that the man was not on the flight.

After their plight was uncovered, the family was booked into the airport transit hotel.

The ordeal of Mr Kanan, who was stranded at the KLIA transit area, also ended with him being allowed to enter Malaysia.

Immigration director-general Alias Ahmed permitted the 22-year-old Palestinian to stay in the country for 30 days on humanitarian grounds. He also agreed to review Mr Kanan's three-year ban from entering Malaysia for overstaying previously.

Another Palestinian, Mr Mohammed Abulabbad, 26, was also hiding in the transit area after he was denied entry to the departure hall for not having a visa to Egypt. He said he had flown from Jakarta to KLIA and wanted to transit in Cairo on his way to Gaza.