JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Some Malaysians working in Singapore are shelving their plans to return despite the possibility of being allowed to be on home quarantine by the Health Ministry.
"Although I miss my wife and children, I think it is better for me to put my plans to return home on hold for now," said technician Azizan Ahmad, 32. The rising number of Covid-19 cases was worrying, he said.
"I'm concerned that I may not be able to get back to work in Singapore if there are any changes to the travel policy in view of the rising cases. If the situation improves next year, I will request to be on home quarantine in Johor. This will allow me to save more money," he said.
Mr Azizan lauded the government's decision to let Malaysians returning from overseas apply for home quarantine.
"Although it is subject to approval, I think it is still a good move. It would at least lessen the burden of those who have to come back to Malaysia, especially when dealing with family emergencies," he said.
Job instructor Tan Sheau Hui, who got her second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in May, was also deferring her homecoming to Johor for now.
"I have no plans to return yet, as we still have to pay for the quarantine fees when we re-enter Singapore," she said.
Ms Tan, 48, said that she would have to spend at least $2,000 on quarantine charges when she re-enters Singapore.
"There are also some conditions for us to fulfil before we could be eligible for home quarantine in Johor," she added. She said her last trip back to Johor was in October last year.
As for branch manager Klavin John Barry Jr, 30, he and his wife Khoo Yin Ting, 31, are planning to be reunited in Singapore after being apart for almost two years.
"My wife is working in Singapore and we have not met since the closure of the border in March last year. We have decided that I will be going there instead of her returning here," he said, adding that he is now in Johor Baru.
Mr Barry, who got his second vaccine jab recently, said he had started to look for a job in the island republic. "I have begun applying for jobs online and I am now waiting for calls to be interviewed virtually," he said.
Last Monday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said home quarantine eligibility for fully vaccinated travellers, including Malaysians returning from abroad, is subject to the ministry's discretion. To be eligible for home quarantine, he said a risk assessment would be done first.
On Aug 8, Malaysia announced the easing of Covid-19 restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated. Among others, fully vaccinated travellers from overseas entering Malaysia, including Malaysians returning from abroad, would be allowed to self-quarantine at home.