Thailand has informed Malaysia that 99 of the 130 Thai nationals remaining in northern Malaysia are willing to return home, local newspaper reported Monday.
Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon conveyed this message to his Malaysian counterpart Syed Hamid Albar recently, said The Star, an English-language newspaper.
"I was informed by my Thai counterpart that 99 are willing to return after having been guaranteed safe passage and security by their government," Syed Hamid was quoted as saying on Sunday.
However, Syed Hamid add that Malaysian authorities need to confirm the message on their own.
The 99 people were part of an original group of 131 Thai Muslims who had fled to Kelantan state in northern Malaysia last year, saying they were worried about their safety in the unrestful southern Thailand.
This had caused a diplomatic uproar. Tensions subsided a little bit after one of the 131, who was reportedly on the wanted list of Thai security department, was handed over to Bangkok.
Syed Hamid said Malaysia's stance on the 130 nationals remaining at a Terengganu immigration center was clear.
"We treat them as people seeking temporary refuge owing to problems there. If they want to return, we shall help in the process," Syed was quoted as saying by The Star.