JOHOR BARU, Nov 29 — Bali Jalang, who returned to Johor Baru from Singapore via the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) here today, was overcome by emotion when he was greeted by his family.
“It is difficult to describe how I’m feeling now as my youngest daughter was born when I was stranded in Singapore (due to the Covid-19 pandemic),” he said, having been separated from them over the past year.
“I am very excited to go home and hold her for the first time. I can't even remember her full name because I have never met her before," said Bali, a 36-year-old air-conditioning technician.
He was greeted by his 34-year-old wife Donna Alicia, and his five children aged between five months old and 10 at the terminal’s entrance.
The last time Bali visited Johor Baru was about a year ago when he returned under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme.
Bali, who is from Sarawak, said the entire process of travelling from Singapore into Johor Baru via bus went smoothly.
“I plan to spend a week here before returning to my work in Singapore,” said Bali who has been working in the island republic for the past 16 years.
Another Malaysian Jarrod Peris, 35, was also separated from his parents for more than a year.
“I will be taking a day or two off here in Johor Baru before making my way back to my hometown in Klang to see my parents and relatives.
“My parents are aware that I am returning to Malaysia today, but they are quite old and could not make it here to greet me,” said the welding specialist.
Peris said the Land VTL arrangement is much easier than the PCA because there is no need for quarantine.
“Even the on-arrival test (OAT) checks were hassle-free and my results came out negative,” he said.
Earlier, both Bali and Peris were welcomed by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad’s aide Datuk Tee Siew Keong as the first group of land VTL travellers who arrived at the Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal at about 9.10am today.
Last week, the Prime Minister's Office announced that both Malaysia and Singapore will simultaneously launch both air and land VTL between both countries on November 29.
Prior to that, Datuk Hasni Mohammad had on November 21 informed that a total of 1,440 individuals are expected to use the land VTL route between Malaysia and Singapore which will be implemented simultaneously with the air-VTL today.