THE mother of a British man missing in the Malaysian jungle urged the Prime Minister to “make one phone call” to the country’s leader “before time runs out”.
Janet Southwell said “real help” was needed to find Gareth Huntley, who has not been seen since he went on a trek to visit a waterfall in Tioman Island, off the south-eastern coast of the country’s mainland, on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old from London, told friends at the charity project where he was volunteering that he would return by 2pm the same day but failed to come back.
Despite the efforts of volunteers who went to search for him he has not been located, with his family calling on the local police and government to do more to find him.
His mother wrote to David Cameron: “As a father, you know that we’d do anything for our children and so I’m humbly asking that you make one phone call to help my missing son, Gareth.”
And she added: “Please do the right thing Prime Minister and make one phone call to the Malaysian leader to insist that they deploy real help to find Gareth before time runs out. He is out there in the jungle and he needs help.
“We urgently need firm action from the government – not standard press assurances of ‘working with authorities’. We need boots on the ground, search teams and dogs so that we can bring our son back alive.”
Southwell added: “The locals were, apparently, brilliant. They were out, very quickly, looking, searching as best they could, through terrain which they obviously know very well, but from what we understand the police response was incredibly slow.”
She said it was out of character for her son to go missing. “He’s got an exploring nature, he’s intelligent, and hopefully his ability to apply himself will get him through this. He was on a break from work, he was due to start a new job in Singapore next week.”
Huntley had been working at the Juara Turtle Project. Kyle Neo Kai Fu, a local friend, said: “The idea that there is a proper professional search going on is laughable. There are five police, in one boat, and nobody is in control. The most likely scenario is that Gareth is injured in a ravine, with a broken leg and we are running out of time.”