1 April 2022
It was like winning a lottery ticket, said a young man from Klang, Selangor, when asked to describe his feelings upon arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from Melbourne, Australia, this morning.
Ng Hou Jun, 26, who is working as a software engineer in Melbourne, said he was beyond ecstatic, and the feeling (of joy) was indescribable after almost two years of not returning to Malaysia following the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the world.
He said even though the Malaysian government had previously allowed locals residing abroad to return when the country’s borders were closed in March 2020, he decided not to return home due to the need to undergo quarantine, which he felt was quite burdensome.
“When I was finally ready to undergo quarantine, on March 1, my female friend and I bought air tickets dated April 1.
“On March 8, I read on social media, that the Malaysian government had agreed to reopen the borders and among other things, abolish SOP and the need to quarantine. I feel very happy. It feels like I have won a lottery,” he told Bernama here today.
Ng said he and his friend would be on holiday for a month in Malaysia before returning to Australia.
“We plan to visit our family members and friends. We are also excited about going to mamak restaurants to eat roti telur and nasi lemak, which we miss.
Meanwhile, a nasi kandar restaurant operator, Mohamed Shafiq Riswan Waris’ longed to see his grandparents, mother, and uncle, who were in Chennai, India as he had not seen for almost a year.
As soon as his grandfather, Datuk Mohamed Salibu, 62, and other family members, stepped out of the KLIA international arrival hall, Mohamed Shafiq, 25, and his four cousins rushed over to hug them, who had just arrived from Chennai, India at about 6.30 am today.
“They were all in India to accompany my grandfather to seek medical treatment for his kidney problems, and since then we only have mobile phones as our communication tools,” said Mohamed Shafiq, who was excited to observe Ramadan with his grandfather and family members.
Meanwhile, Gary Crick, a 46-year-old teacher in an international school in Malaysia, described the arrival process as much easier and faster and it took only an hour compared with those days, which consumed more than two hours.
Another traveller, Manuel Villada, 29, from Mexico, said he flew to KLIA from Dubai, taking Oman Air for a business meeting with his Malaysian-based company.
“I chose this date, April 1, on purpose because I want to avoid quarantine. Besides meetings and work, I have plans to visit some tourist attractions here,” he said, adding that he will spend 10 days in the country.
A business traveller, Radu Lazar, 44, from Romania, said he had planned to visit Malaysia in December last year but postponed it due to a surge in Covid-19 cases during that time.
Lazar, who flew via Qatar Airways from Doha, said he planned to set up a business branch in Malaysia and will therefore spend a few weeks here to meet potential partners.
He also praised the smooth process from the moment he stepped down from the plane until he walked out at the International arrival gate.
On March 8, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the country’s borders would be reopened from April 1 in line with the country’s plan to enter the transition period to the endemic phase of Covid-19. – Bernama
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