Hikers rescued in Johor: Lee Hsien Loong, Vivian Balakrishnan thank Malaysian authorities

(PHOTO: Polis Johor/Facebook)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed his “heartfelt thanks” to the Malaysian authorities and volunteers involved in the rescue of two Singaporeans who went missing in Gunung Pulai’s forest reserve.

“Malaysian authorities devoted considerable manpower and resources to the search-and-rescue operations,” said Lee.

He added: “My heartfelt thanks to Polis Johor Chief Datuk Mohd Khalil, Kulai Fire Department Chief Mohd Khairi Zainudin, their teams, as well as the Singapore team on the ground, for their efforts in this operation. Jutaan terima kasih. Kami sangat menghargai bantuan anda semua! (Millions of thanks. We really appreciate all your help!)”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan had also expressed his “utmost gratitude” to parties involved in the search-and-rescue operation in an earlier Facebook post on Thursday.

He wrote, “We are very grateful to the Malaysian agencies, especially Johor Chief of Police Datuk Mohd Khalil, the Johor Police and Kulai Fire Department, who have worked tirelessly for almost four days on this operation.”

“My utmost gratitude also to the scores of volunteers from both Malaysia and Singapore who helped in the search,” he added.

Dominick Tan Chang Xiang and Lum Jie, both 27, were rescued by Johor authorities on Thursday morning, after being reported missing on Monday evening.

The search-and-rescue operations had involved personnel from various local agencies, including the fire department, dog unit, police and military, covering a massive area around the mountain.

The duo was found to be safe and appeared to have no injuries, said the Johor police.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials from Singapore’s Consulate-General in Johor Bahru have been on the ground assisting their families, Vivian said.

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