Hundreds in Labuan want to return to Sabah to visit spouses

LABUAN: Hundreds of Sabahans on this duty-free island are yearning to reunite with their spouses on the mainland.

Most of them are civil servants in government agencies with the rest in the private sector.

Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli said it was high time the Sabah government ease its SOP for travellers from Labuan to enter Sabah.

He said Sabah’s Covid-19 Disaster Management committee should review its interstate travel SOP for people from Labuan as the island had achieved herd immunity with over 80% of its adult population fully vaccinated and its infectivity rate was low.

“There is no necessity for interstate travel special approval from the committee, which takes a long time to approve. The expensive PCR test should be replaced by the RTK-Ag test,” he said yesterday.

Rozman said he would send an appeal letter to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

“Although Labuan is a federal territory under the Federal Government’s administration, the island is still heavily dependent on Sabah’s resources, especially food.

“Thousands of Sabahans are living on this island for work or staying with relatives. Therefore, on behalf of the local folk and the married couples living apart, we are requesting the Sabah government to review the interstate travel SOP,” he said.

Jeffrey Nian, a staff member of the Labuan Information Department, has not seen his wife and children for four months now.

“I was happy to hear the relaxation on inter-district and interstate travel for married couples living apart, as announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, it does not apply to Sabah. It means I’m still unable to travel to meet my wife on the mainland.

“I hope the Sabah government can consider the plight of Sabahans in Labuan,” he said.

Khairul Idin, a journalist with Wilayahku, has been living apart from his wife in Sandakan since April.

“I sent my wife back to Sandakan for confinement after she delivered our first baby.

“At that time the interstate travel restriction to Sabah was a bit relaxed.

“But now we totally cannot meet as the SOP to enter Sabah is too strict for travellers from Labuan.

“Sad to say, I was able to spend only a few days with our new-born baby before they returned to Sandakan,” he said.

Labuan Disaster Management Committee chairman Rithuan Ismail said travellers from Labuan needed a police permit, negative PCR test result and interstate travel approval from the Sabah government to enter the mainland. — Bernama

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