Another tearful Eid for Malaysians in Singapore

One Malaysian has not been home since March last year and has not seen his newborn child who is now 6-month-old

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by TMR FILE 

WHILE this year’s Aidilfitri celebration will be limited due to the Movement Control Order (MCO 3.0), Malaysians in Singapore brace for another tearful event, as they longed to be with their family.

A production and general supervisor (section head hot kitchen) Muhammad Shukor Misron (picture; above), 33, who has not been home since March last year, said he still does not get a chance to meet his newborn child, who is now six-month-old.

“Of course, I have plans to go back to Johor Baru (JB). But if I go back, my company will terminate my work permit. I am glad that my wife is very understanding. We always communicate,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

“I have three kids; the first one is nine-year-old, second is five-year-old and the third is six-month-old. Recently, they shared their photo in ‘baju raya’ and I just couldn’t hold my tears.”

To light up the Raya mood, Muhammad Shukor and his five Malaysian housemates baked few cookies and planned to have more traditional dishes on the first day of Syawal.

“My wife sent some Raya biscuits from JB, and there is an aunty at my workplace who gave us some cookies too. Despite these tough times, we need to appreciate what we have around us and celebrate this Aidilfitri,” he added.

Looking forward to getting Covid-19 vaccine in Singapore, Muhammad Shukor said he had already registered but had not received any call yet.

The recent spike in Covid-19 cases has forced Singapore to return to Phase 2. From May 8 to 30, social gatherings will be capped at five people in a group, down from eight.

Similarly, households will be able to receive only up to five distinct visitors per day.

The Malaysian government also announced on Monday that the Reciprocal Green Lane scheme with Singapore will be suspended from tomorrow, following the rise of Covid-19 cases and other new variants in the republic.

As for now, Muhammad Shukor is waiting for his free vaccination.

“Few of my housemates had been vaccinated. It is free, but by stages,” he said.

Married to a Singaporean, a makeup artist, Nurul Aini Zainal (picture), 29, expressed her sadness at not being able to meet her parents in Banting, Selangor, since February last year.

She said the cost to enter Malaysia now is around S$3,000 (RM9,299) for quarantine in Singapore, excluding the swab test.

“My father is 90-year-old. It is hard for him to understand the situation and my mom is sick. I am now having sleeping problems and always cry whenever I miss them,” she told TMR.

Nurul Aini said the high cost is the main reason why it is impossible for her to come home monthly, like what she used to do pre-Covid.

Sharing the same frustration, purchasing executive Zuhaina Shahidan, 34, said she will celebrate this Hari Raya in JB alone, separated from her husband, who is in Singapore, for second consecutive year.

Now, with the interstate ban, Zuhaina is also unable to visit her parents who are in Selangor.

“I am alone and have no relatives in JB. My husband, Mohd Rafiq Ruslee, is a logistic assistant. He came back to JB for a short period under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) last September. “He always says he misses my cooking,” she told TMR.

Hopeful for Covid-19 to end and better time to shine its light, Zuhaina wishes her husband will be able to commute daily to and from Singapore like before.