Time out to Cuti-Cuti Malaysia

Night view: People having a night out at the Bukit Ampang lookout point. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Have SOP, will travel. Malaysians are on the go, whether for holidays or family visits.

For civil servant Fazil Mustapa, his trip from Sungai Petani, Kedah, to Kuala Lumpur was necessary as he had not seen his mother and siblings since the movement control order was imposed in March.

“My wife delivered our fifth baby four months ago and my mum has not met her newest grandson. I miss her too.

“Since interstate travel is allowed again and in conjunction with the holiday season, I decided to bring my family to visit her, ” he said when met yesterday at KL Sentral where he was waiting to leave for Sungai Petani.

Fazil, 38, said it was the first time his children travelled on the Electric Train Service (ETS).

“I’m confident of KTM Bhd’s vigilance in ensuring public safety on its trains, ” he said.

Fazil said he and his wife made it a point to brief their children on the standard operating procedure (SOP), such as wearing face masks and washing hands frequently.

He said many people who travelled now were not doing it just for the sake of taking a vacation.

“It is more to catch up with our family members especially during these trying times, ” he added.

Selangor-based sports writer Bob Faizeli Mohamed Din, 39, said that travelling with young children now required more preparation, such as ensuring there was enough supply of face masks.

He made a trip to his wife Norshafarina Ismail’s hometown in Kepala Batas, Penang, yesterday.

“I have five kids, aged between one and 11. So, we decided to travel by car for comfort and to avoid the risk of physical contact. Other than meeting family members, the trip is mainly about sightseeing by car.

“We wouldn’t stay too long at a place and would leave if it’s crowded, ” he said.

As for their meals, Bob said either he or Norshafarina would buy from petrol kiosks, fast food outlets or hawker stalls while the children remained in the car.

However, a family picture at the Raja Tun Uda ferry terminal was a must.

“We took the ferry from Butterworth to George Town. It’s been a tradition for my kids to have a picture taken on the ferry, ” he added.

Visual producer Angela Marzuki Chang, 35, who took a flight home to Langkawi, said the aircraft was almost full.

“The duty-free shops selling chocolates and candies were enjoying brisk business too, ” she said, adding that the majority of visitors also adhered to the SOP.

It is estimated that 31 flights landed at the Langkawi International Airport on Friday and yesterday.

Muizzudin Ishak, 17, said he and his family from Batu Pahat, Johor, decided to spend their vacation in Langkawi.

“We have been planning a holiday for quite a while. My brothers and sisters decided on Langkawi and brought our parents along, ” he said.

As for Samsul Shahruni, 39, since he was going on a business trip to Langkawi, he decided to bring his wife and three daughters for a short holiday.

“The situation at the airport is manageable, unlike the jetty where there are so many people waiting for the ferry, ” he said.

At the Penang International Airport, some travellers were seen in custom-made personal protective equipment gear.

Langkawi inbound operator Heavenly Escape Holiday Sdn Bhd general manager Azlan Abas said business had been good but “we always remind our clients that they have to comply with the SOP”.

He said the company also conducted daily sanitisation of their rental vehicles and would only deal with hotels that practise strict SOP at their premises.

“As long as we follow the SOP and are always alert, it should be fine, ” he said.

Langkawi Aseania Resort and Spa Group general manager Jasmy Othman said most hotels on the island, especially those near the beach, enjoyed good occupancy rates.

Langkawi Tourism Industry Organisation president Ahmad Phisol Ishak said the island received about 10,000 travellers on weekends since the lifting of interstate travel restrictions.

Airlines such as AirAsia have been working towards accelerating tourism recovery, including offering new collaborations and flight routes.

AirAsia head of commercial Amanda Woo said domestic tourism recovery was a collective effort from industry players.

“AirAsia is committed to increasing the connectivity of domestic network coupled with low fares, and continued stringent health and hygiene procedures for everyone to travel confidently, ” she said.

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