Rush to return home before new Malaysian quarantine rule starts

Mrs Toh Siew Choo had planned to return to her home in Johor Baru on Sunday.

The 53-year-old, who was working as a nanny in Singapore, has not seen her family for more than six months.

But like many other Malaysians in Singapore, Mrs Toh quickly changed her plans after the Malaysian government announced this week that Malaysians returning from today will have to serve a 14-day quarantine at hotels or quarantine centres.

They will also have to bear the full cost of the stay.

Mrs Toh said: “I have been wanting to go back as I miss my family. I would usually have visited them every one or two months.

“I decided to go back earlier so that I can spend more time with them instead of staying at a faci-lity outside.”

Malaysians who returned by yesterday will still have to serve a quarantine, but they can do so at home, provided they test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival.

Several other Malaysians who spoke to The Straits Times outside the Woodlands Checkpoint yesterday afternoon said they wanted to avoid being quarantined at an external facility.

They had heard that the 14-day stay would cost them about RM150 (S$49) daily.

Pictures of long queues on the Causeway outside the Johor Baru checkpoint were uploaded on social media yesterday morning.

One set of pictures shows the queue snaking out onto the road in front of the checkpoint building.

Long lines at border as Malaysians in S’pore hurry home ahead of new quarantine rule: Malaysian workers in Singapore returned to Johor Baru in droves yesterday, ahead of a new rule that will see those returning to Malaysia serve 14 days in quarantine at designated facilities and pay for it. As a result, snaking queues (above and below) were seen yesterday morning outside the Johor Baru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex. PHOTOS: MALAYSIA-SINGAPORE BORDER CROSSINGS/FACEBOOK

Another photo taken at about 9.40am from a traffic camera in front of the building similarly shows a queue spilling onto the road.

When ST visited the Woodlands Checkpoint building at about 11.30am, a trickle of people entered the immigration area, but no queue was spotted inside.

Over a period of about three hours, about 30 people were seen dragging their luggage into the building.

Mr Krishna Murthy, 32, who works in the oil and gas industry, said he was glad he could make it back to Malaysia yesterday before the revised quarantine rules kicked in.

He had not seen his wife since he returned to Singapore for work following their wedding in February, but is now looking forward to spending some time with her.

“I applied for home leave to go back to see my family. I am still working in Singapore, and I will apply to come back when the Singapore-Malaysia green lane opens,” he said.

Meanwhile, two Malaysians who lost their jobs in Singapore and had trouble finding new ones said they decided to return earlier to avoid bearing the cost of staying at a designated quarantine facility.

Former forklift driver Bala Dinesh, 46, who worked in Singapore for 14 years, said: “I have no money and no place to stay in Singapore. How am I going to pay the RM2,000 needed to stay in a quarantine centre with no work?

“But even after I go home, paying the bills and finding work is still going to be a problem.”

Source: Read Full Article