SEPANG: Looking somewhat bewildered by the warm welcome given to her at KL International Airport, Tan Soo Fieck allowed the tears to flow freely as her dream of returning home after years of living in limbo came true.
“I want to thank everyone who has made this possible. I’m so happy to be back,” she said yesterday at the airport on flying in from Japan.
“The first thing I want to do is to see my daughter,” she added, clutching a pink handkerchief that she used occasionally to wipe her tears.
Earlier, when Tan was brought out in a wheelchair at 5pm from the arrival hall, she was garlanded with orchids by a group of Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation members.
They also held up a banner that said “Welcome Back” in Chinese and sang her a song.
On recovering from her initial surprise over the rousing reception, Tan waved at them and even managed a smile.
Tan reportedly went to Tokyo some eight years ago to work to finance the education of her daughter Poh Ying in Malaysia.
The 49-year-old Malaysian permanent resident was stranded in Japan when her documents expired a year later but she continued to work there illegally.
Her plight was highlighted after Tokyo MCA Club chairman Tam Yun Tong took Malaysian journalists covering Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s official visit to Japan recently to meet her.
The Government recently issued her a temporary Certificate of Identity (CI) to facilitate her travel, with the foundation bearing the cost.
Tan was accompanied home yesterday by Tam and three members of the foundation.
“When the plane left Narita airport, she started to cry because she was so happy that she was coming home.
“She loves Malaysia and told me that her dreams had come true because she could return to her homeland,” said Tam, adding that when Tan was not sleeping during the flight, she would be crying.
It is understood that Tan is suffering from acute diabetes and doctors have said her legs may have to be amputated.
Because of her condition, she was taken directly to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and admitted.
Poh Ying had approached the MCA Public Services and Complaints Department for help to get her mother home.
However, Poh Ying was not at the airport or the hospital by press time yesterday.