Students start Raya exodus

Adhering to SOP: A student scanning a QR code via the MySejahtera app on his phone to check in before boarding the bus to return home.

PETALING JAYA: The Hari Raya exodus of university students continues with more campuses in several states sending their undergraduates home to celebrate the festival with their loved ones.

The Higher Education Ministry has allowed students at higher education institutions to cross state borders to return home for the celebration.

In the ministry’s announcement on April 29, it said that all students – except those in Sarawak – would be allowed to travel interstate from campus to their homes on designated dates in May.

The dates for students to head home are from May 7 to 12 and they will return between May 15 and 20.

In JOHOR BARU, more than 2,000 students from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) are expected to return to their hometowns over the next few days.

Its deputy vice-chancellor Prof Shamsul Sahibuddin said the university received a total of 2,073 applications from students requesting to go home for the festival.

“We have initiated the ‘Jom Balik Kampung’ programme to assist students who want to go home. We have provided several buses that operate on a daily basis to ferry the students back to their respective hometowns until next Tuesday.

“During the first trip on Thursday night, we have sent a total of 290 students from states such as Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis back home on eight buses, ” he told reporters at the university’s Jom Balik Kampung programme yesterday.

“Apart from providing the buses, we also allow students to have their parents or family members pick them up since yesterday. To date, only about 113 students have requested to go home in that manner.

“Meanwhile, 145 students who have their own transport have requested to drive on their own and we have provided letters for them to show during police roadblocks, ” he said, adding that about 2,000 students would not be returning home.

Among those excited to return home was third year petroleum engineering student Airil Zulfikhar, 22, from Kuala Lumpur.

“Initially, I told my parents that it was unlikely that I would be able to go home for Hari Raya this year but they convinced me otherwise, ” he said, adding that he has never missed the opportunity of returning home for Hari Raya.

Final year student Norannisa Mohd Roslan, 23, who is also studying petroleum engineering, said that she was overjoyed when she found out she could go home.

“When the government announced that we could go home, I was relieved and immediately called my parents, ” said Norannisa, who is from Negri Sembilan.

In SEREMBAN, a total of 3,043 Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) students will start making their way home for the holidays in stages from today.

Usim deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs) Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Rushdan Mohd Jalani said 440 students would be sent home using 18 vehicles belonging to the university while the others would either be driving or picked up by their parents or guardians.

“We will not allow them to return to their hometowns using public transport.

“However, those who are flying back will be allowed to do so, ” he said in a statement.

Assoc Prof Mohd Rushdan said the first group of students would leave for Kelantan and Terengganu from the university’s Dewan Tuanku Canselor at 8am.

The last group will leave for Penang, Perlis and Kedah on Tuesday.

He said those returning home must register with the university and would be given letters to travel interstate.

Prof Mohd Rushdan said 66 students would not be returning home and would stay on campus.

Sunway Education Group chief executive officer Prof Elizabeth Lee said most students opted to return to their hometowns using their own vehicles or have their parents pick them up.

She said approximately 200 of their students were given approval to return to their hometowns yesterday.

The varsity’s hostel team, she added, has been working closely with the relevant administrative departments and schools to ensure all the guidelines are adhered to.

“We came up with e-administrative measures to ensure student movement, including the identification of those staying in hostels are recorded accordingly, with constant updates provided to the relevant departments, ” she said.

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