The wait is over – returning students reunited with families

Lyna Mohamad

As the Syawal celebrations entered its fifth day, another batch of Brunei students was allowed home after completing their mandatory 14-day self-isolation at designated hotels in the country on Thursday.

The batch of 14 students, who are studying at various colleges and universities in Malaysia, were flown home on a special Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) flight from Kuala Lumpur on May 13.

Frontliners and volunteers transported them from the Brunei International Airport to their designated hotels; 12 opted to isolate at Parkview Hotel, while the remaining two opted for The Empire Brunei in Jerudong.

Most of these students had stayed on in Kuala Lumpur to complete their examinations. After learning that the movement control order (MCO) had been extended, they felt it was better to return home to spend the festivities with their families.

Ministry of Health (MoH) officials attended to their release procedures, providing them with health advice after the completion of the quarantine. Meanwhile, the frontliners, volunteers and hotel staff assisted with their check-outs.

The students’ return was made possible with cooperation from the Ministry of Education (MoE), Brunei High Commission in Malaysia and RB.

High commission officials had paid special attention to the students’ return arrangements and well-being.

ABOVE & BELOW: Haslinda binti Haji Abdul Hamid and family with Muhammad Aminuddin bin Muhammad Farid; and Hamdinah binti Haji Abdul Hamid and family. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD

Waiting for her son, Haslinda binti Haji Abdul Hamid was over the moon to be reunited with her son Muhammad Aminuddin bin Muhammad Farid.

The family had been anxiously counting the days for the quarantine to be over and done with.
“Today is especially different, unlike the usual manner in which we welcome him home for his semester break. This is also the first time we were unable to gather as a unit on the first day of Syawal,” she said.

Haslinda said it had been a tad emotional not having her son around on the first day, however, she understands it is for the safety of all that he had to be quarantined. The mother of three, who has a close bond with her children, said that seeing the situation worsen in Malaysia, she could not help but worry for her eldest son, a United Kingdom Degree Transfer Programme Law student at INTI International University and Colleges. She was in contact with him daily, and was relieved to learn that her son would be brought home.

“I would like to express my Junjung Kasih to our beloved monarch, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, for his care and concern for the welfare and well-being of Bruneians abroad. Our thanks also go out to His Majesty’s Government, particularly officials from the Brunei High Commission in Malaysia, who worked hard in ensuring the safety and well-being of Brunei students there.”

She also extended gratitude to MoH officials, frontliners and volunteers for looking after the students, noting that their sacrifices and efforts mean a lot to the parents.

Meanwhile, Hamdinah binti Haji Abdul Hamid also expressed gratitude to all involved in bringing home and looking after her son during the quarantine procedure.

Her son, Bachelor in Business Psychology student Muhammad Noridham bin Fujiminori, had been quarantined at Parkview Hotel.

“Alhamdulillah, we are glad the wait is over. Our first day of Syawal was not the same as he was the only one missing in my family, but I understand that this needed to be done,” Hamdinah said.

She thanked His Majesty and the Brunei Government for the efforts in containing the COVID-19 spread in the country, as well as the MoH, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, hotel staff and volunteers, Brunei High Commission in Malaysia, and RB.

“We are happy with the treatment and assistance from the relevant parties and may Allah the Almighty bless them all. A big thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Hamdinah said.