State borders become meeting points for Malaysians affected by interstate travel ban

Amir Affendi with his siblings at the Tanjung Malim-Ulu Bernam border on May 3.
Mr Amir Affendi with his siblings at the Tanjung Malim-Ulu Bernam border on May 3.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's state borders are becoming a gathering point for children who have not met their parents for months due to a ban on interstate travel.

Many described the meetings, which last between five minutes and half an hour, as better than nothing and shared these precious moments on various social media platforms.

Discus thrower Nur Nadiatul Farisya Muhammad Mahiri, who is undergoing her training in Kangar, Perlis, met up with her parents in mid-April at the Kedah-Perlis border, where many police roadblocks had been set up.

"I've missed my parents terribly. I can't return to Kedah and my parents cannot enter Perlis, so we decided to meet at the border," she posted on video social media platform TikTok.

Ms Nur Nadiatul said the last time she returned to her home town in Alor Setar, Kedah, was in December before the second movement control order and interstate travel ban were imposed.

"I applied for permission from the police to cross the border and so did my parents, but our applications were not approved.

"The authorities tightened restrictions on interstate travel even involving neighbouring states like Kedah and Perlis. Only emergency cases are allowed," the 20-year-old told mStar, The Star's Malay-language portal.

Ms Nur Nadiatul said she usually returned to her home town every week and this was the first time she was spending Ramadan away from her family.

"I could not hold my longing for my parents any longer after spending a few days of Ramadan away from them. Usually, when I'm back in my home town, my mum would cook my favourite dishes, which are squid sambal and spiced crab," she said.

Ms Nur Nadiatul said she had asked her mother to prepare her favourite dishes and to meet her at the Kedah-Perlis border.

"The half-an-hour meeting meant a lot to me. Not only did my mother and I cry, but so did my father. They advised me to be patient.

"I'm still hoping that there will be some leniency that would allow us to cross state borders so that I can see them, but I'm still grateful to have finally met up with them and satisfied my longing for my mother's cooking," she added.

Mr Amir Affendi also shared a video on Twitter on May 3 of his meet-up with his siblings at the Tanjung Malim-Ulu Bernam border.

In a touching video that had a Hari Raya song in the background, Mr Amir's eldest brother was seen handing him some kuih bahulu as they hugged and kissed.

"The river separates our family, so we could only meet for five minutes on the Tanjung Malim bridge. Salam rindu (I miss you) to all my family," he said.

Twitter user Yusraqila shared photos of her aunts meeting at the Kelantan-Terengganu border on May 1.

"Considering that we can't cross state borders, my aunts planned to meet near the border just to see each other. I cried seeing this; I miss them terribly," she said.

For Ms Nurul Izzah Ramli, her preparation for Hari Raya Aidilfitri was what made her meet up with her tailor at the Kelantan-Terengganu border.

In a TikTok video, the 23-year-old was seen receiving her tailor-made Raya attire at the border, separated by barricades and barbed wire.

"I don't usually order tailor-made outfits for Raya but this year, I decided to do so because I had received some batik cloth from my uncle.

"I wanted to send it to my aunt, who lives near my house, but she said she has already been receiving a lot of tailoring orders. Other tailors in Terengganu were also fully booked," she said.

Recalling that her friend's mother was a tailor, Ms Nurul Izzah tried her luck and asked whether she was still taking orders.

"My friend said her mum was indeed still taking orders, so that's why I decided to send it to her, " she said, adding that her friend's house was near the Pachakan-Besut border, which was closed because of the movement control order.