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AFTER almost half a year of uncertainty – since the closing of the country’s borders – foreign students enrolled in Malaysia’s higher education institutions can make their way to their chosen campuses.

This, despite the recent Emergency proclamation and reinstated movement control order in Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Sabah as well as the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

Since Jan 1, foreign students studying in private education centres were allowed to enter Malaysia.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement on Monday, which was then followed by the nationwide state of Emergency proclamation by the King, however, left some students feeling anxious as to whether they could return.

The Higher Education Ministry has since clarified that there would be no issue with regard to the return of these students to Malaysian soil as operations at higher education institutions will continue as planned throughout the MCO and Emergency proclamation.

This applies to both current and new students who will need to fulfil requirements set by the ministry including securing their accommodation prior to entry.

Those from the United Kingdom, however, still cannot return to Malaysia.

As with all those entering the country, these students will also have to undergo a mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

The quarantine will range from seven or 10 days, depending on whether these students have taken the Covid-19 RT-PCR test three days prior to departure from their home country.

The cost for testing and quarantine is to be bourne by the students themselves.

Last month, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the National Security Council agreed to a proposal from the Higher Education Ministry that allows international students to be physically present at campuses for the 2021 session.

The return of foreign students to Malaysian soil is good news not only for the students themselves but for the higher education sector, especially private institutions, which have taken a massive financial hit throughout the MCO.

These students and their parents must, however, feel comfortable and assured that it is safe to return to Malaysia as the country is able to manage and contain the pandemic well. — By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM > MORE STORIES ON PAGES 4 & 5

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