1 April 2022
Etihad Airways flight EY418 touched down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 10.23am today and was welcomed with a water cannon salute from both sides as part of a government ceremony to mark the reopening of Malaysia’s international borders.
Among the over 200 passengers from Abu Dhabi was Ibrahim Salah, a businessman in his 40s who frequently flies to Kuala Lumpur for business.
He had come to Malaysia in the past two years even though international travel was restricted.
He was grateful as now he could immediately get to work without the quarantine that was previously mandatory for travellers like him.
“It is totally different, Alhamdulillah, very easy and the immigration is very cooperative. They taught me how to submit (my details) on MySejahtera and Alhamdulillah everything goes well today,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rabiatul Adawiyah, 36, a PhD student who had not returned home to Malaysia since 2019, was in tears as she embraced her mother, Habibah Taat, 64, and sister Siti Fatimah, 23, at the KLIA Arrival Hall.
Rabiatul began her studies researching Arabic language at the Mohamed V University in Abu Dhabi right before the pandemic, and was discouraged from returning home by the myriad of applications needed to get a MyTravelPass — a form of immigration clearance international travellers required during the last two years.
“I’m so happy to be back. I’m here for Hari Raya and my sister is getting engaged, and I’ll be going back to Abu Dhabi after a month,” said the Johorean from Muar, who has a year left of her studies.
At the same time, 39-year-old TJ Lobben had just got off a flight from Seattle, US, and was excited to be in Malaysia although still weary from his 22-hour trip.
The machinist who is here to set up machines for a local IT company, said he also plans to tour some local hotspots during his three-month trip.
“Everything was okay. Just a little difficult here. Because I’m unvaccinated and had to get another Covid-19 test here [at KLIA], and I didn’t know that,” he said.
At 8.30am, checks by the Malay Mail found that the arrival hall was still quite empty but by 11.30am, as more flights landed, a small but steady stream of passengers were trickling through the gates.
A taxi driver who wanted to be known as Muhammad Rico said that he’s thankful for the return in business, but can’t wait for travellers to arrive as they did before the pandemic.
Rico said he’s been ferrying travellers from KLIA for the past 10 years, and had dropped off his first customer for the day earlier, before being met by Malay Mail outside the airport arrival hall.
“The past two years have been totally dry [in business]. I do Grab but I couldn’t do it too much because of the way my car is,” said the 48-year old who uses a car from a taxi agency.
At a press conference earlier, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said more than 110 international flights will land in airports across Malaysia today, with the number of international passengers expected to ramp up in the coming weeks.
Did you find what you are looking for? Try out the enhanced Google Search: