134 Indonesian travellers stranded in Sabah return home today

Passengers wearing masks at KLIA March 10, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Passengers wearing masks at KLIA March 10, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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TAWAU, May 15 — A total of 134 out of 168 Indonesian travellers who were stranded in Sabah since the movement control order (MCO) took effect on March 18, returned to their country today after obtaining permission from the Sabah government.

Chief of the Indonesian Consul-General’s Office in Tawau Sulistijo Djati Ismojo said two express ferries, namely Purnama Express and KM Francis Express from Nunukan, Indonesia, arrived at the Tawau Ferry Terminal at 10.30am to transport the travellers home.

“Thank you to the Sabah government for giving us permission to bring home Indonesians who were stranded here in Sabah,” he told reporters when met at the ferry terminal here.

According to Djati, the Indonesians travellers comprising 102 from Sulawesi, 24 from North Kalimantan and eight from East Kalimantan, will undergo Covid-19 screening tests when they arrive a the Nunukan Port and will also undergo mandatory quarantine.

He said the remaining 34 Indonesians who are still stranded in Malaysia would be referred to later for the return permit process.

One of the travellers, Takri Laude could not hide his happiness now that he was able to return home and reunite with his family to celebrate Aidilfitri together.

“I am from South Sulawesi and had travelled to Tawau on March 9. I had been stranded in Sabah since MCO was implemented and was staying with my relatives in Pasir Putih here,” said the 68-year-old retired teacher.

Hundreds of Indonesian were stranded in Sabah following the government’s decision to temporarily suspend the ferry services between Tawau and Tarakan in accordance with the implementation of the MCO to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. — Bernama