Reopening of borders: Visitors from Singapore continue to stream into JB

Singaporean couple Joanna Peng and Muhammad Razis shopping for groceries at Aeon supermarket in Tebrau on April 2, 2022. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

JOHOR BARU - Before Covid-19, Singaporean Joanna Peng and her husband would take a trip across the Causeway once a month to buy groceries.

The pandemic had rendered the grocery run impossible, but with border restrictions eased on Friday (April 1), Ms Peng, 39, and her husband Muhammad Razis, 36, were able to drive to the Aeon hypermarket in Tebrau, Johor Baru, on Saturday.

The couple picked up items such as rice, cooking oil and vegetables - and even cooking sauces and bottles of soft drinks friends in Singapore had asked them to buy - in time for Hari Raya Puasa on May 3.

Ms Peng, an executive in the education field, told The Straits Times: "We were a little uncertain when we first heard the news (about the border reopening), as we were not sure what the process would be like.

"But we were saying if it really goes wrong, we could always just turn back."

With land crossings now not needing Covid-19 tests or quarantine, Ms Peng and Mr Razis, an engineer, are hoping to make more trips.

Said Ms Peng: "As Hari Raya is about a month away, and because we are Muslims, we want to stock up on things for guests as more visitors are now allowed."

Mr Sanjeev, who goes by one name, drove into Johor Baru with his mother on Saturday afternoon. He told ST that he planned on checking out food places after filling up his car.

The 26-year-old marketing associate, who made the trip after work, said: "I checked an app to see the traffic at the checkpoint for the first time in two years. Since I live nearby in Woodlands, I decided to make the trip."

He added: "Even though I've had my lunch, I'm sure I'll be able to eat again because there is a lot of good food in Malaysia." 

He also plans to return soon to visit friends who live in Malaysia whom he has not seen since the pandemic.

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This week, a group of car enthusiasts from Scuderia FSG in Singapore will be driving to Kuala Lumpur.

A spokesman said the group, which was founded about 11 years ago, previously made trips to Malaysia six to eight times a year to places such as Sepang and Penang.

Mr Sanjeev getting petrol for his car at a Shell petrol station in Johor Baru on April 2, 2022. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

After missing out on long road trips for the past two years, they are now looking forward to hitting the road again. Members own cars such as Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

Said the spokesman: "It's not about driving fast. It's more about the duration. If you enjoy driving, sometimes that two-hour or three-hour drive is very therapeutic. You look at the scenery and you let the engine hum along.

"Everybody's very excited, we spent the last week getting our cars ready."

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