NOT all university students are able to go home for Ramadan or Hari Raya this year.
Some Malaysians are remaining on campus to complete assignments while international students continue to live on campus.
Universiti Sains Malaysia student Muhammad Haziq Mansor, 26, from Ipoh, Perak, is among those staying put.
Muhammad Haziq, who is pursuing a master’s degree in instructional design, said he had been on the Penang campus since the movement control order (MCO) was announced on March 18.
“I chose to stay rather than go back to my hometown as I need the Internet connection speed at the varsity.
“I am attending online classes and I have assignments to complete. This is important as this is my final semester.
“I was hoping that interstate travel would be allowed so that I can go home for Hari Raya.
“Since it is not allowed, I will celebrate Raya with my international friends here at USM.
“It will be a new and good experience for us.
“We have decided to cook our own special dishes to share among us,” he said.
Muhammad Haziq added that Ramadan felt so different for him now.
“It was a tradition for all students and staff to perform iftar at the mosque on campus. Now, we can pray only in our rooms.
“Sometimes, we cook with the international students as most of the Penangites are back home.
“We usually buy our food from cafes on campus. They have been open from the first day of MCO.
“We are not allowed to step out of the campus. But we can order food through delivery services,” he said.
His friend Anjas Madisha, 24, from Lombok, Indonesia, said he had to cancel plans to go home for Hari Raya due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has changed everything and the situation is difficult for me.
“The food here is a little different from the food in Indonesia. The taste does not quite suit me.
“As the food available from delivery services is limited, I have to buy food at the cafes on campus only.
“However, I have become more focused and productive since the MCO started,” said the environmental science master’s degree student.
Student Intekhab Husain from India said he would be celebrating Hari Raya or Eid-ul-Fitr as known back home, with his friends here.
“This is my first Ramadan experience in Malaysia,” said Intekhab who is pursuing a doctor of philosophy course from the School of Mathematical Sciences.
“Back in my hometown in Uttar Pradesh, we used to go to markets for food during Ramadan.
“We are not allowed to get out of the campus but we have many cafes here and can order dishes through delivery services so food is not a problem for us.
“Some of my local friends are not going home too.
“We are planning to do many interesting things this Raya on campus such as cooking together for celebrations,” said the 27-year-old.