It was an emotional moment for Malaysians who gathered and waited patiently at midnight for the reopening of the Johor Causeway on 1 April.
Minutes before the land borders were set to reopen at 11.59 pm on Thursday (31 March), many people could be seen walking from the Singapore Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex towards Malaysia.
Many cheered with unbridled joy and shouts of “welcome back” and “selamat kembali” to Malaysia could be heard from those gathering at the R&F Mall near Johor Causeway. Fireworks were set off in the background too.
The border between Malaysia and Singapore had been since 17 March 2020 following the implementation of the Movement Control Order. It came alive again after 2 years, with the reopening of the country’s borders starting today.
According to an observation by Bernama, the atmosphere around Johor Baru city has turned lively as many gathered there to wait for the arrival of their family members from Singapore, with some just turning up to bask in the historic occasion.
Speaking to Bernama, Mohd Fauzan, who has been working as a technician in Singapore for the past 4 years, shed tears of joy when asked how he felt about returning home.
He was overjoyed to finally be able to reunite with his wife and children after 2 years. “My wife does not know I am coming back. I hope to give her a surprise… It has been such a long time since I last saw my family.”
“Thank you to the governments of Malaysia and Singapore for making the border opening a success,” he said.
Fauzan said today’s event was made more meaningful as they can return home to welcome Ramadhan.
“For the last two years, I celebrated Hari Raya in a foreign country. I’m overwhelmed with emotion… I don’t know how to face my wife and kids,” he said.
On 25 March, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, in a joint statement, announced that both countries had agreed to reopen their land borders for fully vaccinated travellers beginning 1 April.
Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to cross the border without undergoing quarantine and conducting a test upon arrival.