Due to travel restrictions between Malaysia and Singapore, it is not easy for Malaysian workers who are stranded in Singapore to return to their families or even bid farewell to their departed loved ones back home.
However, with help from various parties, one Malaysian citizen working in Singapore was able to rush back home to visit her mother who had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
On Thursday (6 Aug), Malaysia’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) State Assemblyman (ADUN) for Stulang, Andrew Chen Kah Eng, took to his Facebook to share about the heartwarming story.
According to Mr Chen, Madam Chong, who lived in Kulai, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and had chosen to take her final breath quietly when the time comes. She did ask someone to inform her daughter about it. Her daughter, Ms Chia, was in Singapore at that time.
When Ms Chia was notified about her mother’s condition, she hurriedly prepared to return home to visit her dying mother before her passing, but there was an issue with her returning home under such circumstances.
Mr Chen noted in his post that those who are under quarantine can only be allowed to return home to attend the funerals of family members but not for visiting – in compliance with the current Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in Malaysia.
“However, we strongly believed that there must be coexistence between the strict SOP (standard operating procedures) and empathy,” the State Assemblyman added.
Fortunately, with the help from various local officials, Mr Chen said that Ms Chia managed to return home to meet her mother for two hours.
He also shared that everyone broke into tears the moment Ms Chia embraced her dying mother.
At the end of his post, Mr Chen listed down the names of those who helped made the reunion possible: Member of Parliament for Kulai Teo Nie Ching, her special assistant Wong Bor Yang, ADUN for Senai Alan Tee Boon Tsong, Area Medical Officer for St. John Ambulance of Malaysia, Johor Bahru Dr Goh Aik Ping and his team, as well as Johor Bahru District Officer Tuan Haji Abdul Rahman.
“The rule of law and compassion both should coexist, so that it will not result in regret later,” he remarked.
At the time of writing, Mr Chen’s post has garnered more than 2,500 reactions with hundreds of comments and shares. Under the comments section, many netizens praised those who offered their help and support to Ms Chia.
A handful others hope that the relevant authorities will be more compassionate and come up with a better solution to help others who wish to travel across the border for reasons similar to Ms Chia’s.
On 26 July, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan announced that both Singaporean and Malaysian Ministers had “settled arrangements” for the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) as part of the cross-border scheme between Singapore and Malaysia.
Dr Balakrishnan explained that these two schemes will be for a “limited group of people” for now, adding that the applications will begin on 10 August.
“These schemes will facilitate cross-border travel for official, business and work purposes, and help to progressively restore some of the extensive people-to-people interactions and economic exchanges between Singapore and Malaysia. It will be for a limited group of people for now, and done in a controlled manner.”
Understanding that many Singaporeans want to travel to Malaysia again, as well as the ones who wish to travel for “compassionate reasons”, he noted the importance of the method to open up the borders in a “safe and calibrated way”.
“But in these extraordinary times, we have to be cautious. So while we are committed to addressing the needs of different groups of cross-border travellers, including those who wish to travel for compassionate reasons, the most vital question now is how to open up our borders in a safe and calibrated way.”