Being able to return a Gawai gift for native students

Awang Supian accompanying the students before they boarded the plane on Friday morning.

KUALA LUMPUR: The last group of 35 Sarawak matriculation students in Malaya returned to Sarawak on the second day of Hari Raya today (May 14).

They comprised 14 matriculation students from Selangor, Negeri Sembilan (12), Melaka (three), Perak (three), Johor (two) and Penang (one). They boarded flight MH2742 from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Bintulu at 8.25am.

Their return journey was assisted by the Sarawak government through Rumah Sarawak in Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak Volunteers as well as other agencies.

Rumah Sarawak director Awang Supian Awang Daud was present to send the students off this morning, and the team from Rumah Sarawak also distributed food and drinks to the students before they boarded the plane.

Louisa Geranting

For 19-year-old Iban student, Louisa Geranting, who is the eldest of three siblings from Sungai Plan, Bintulu and studying at the Melaka Matriculation College, returning on the second day of Hari Raya gives her the opportunity to celebrate Gawai with her family on June 1 and 2.

“If everything goes well with us complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), including undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine, we will be able to return to our families by Gawai,” she said when met at KLIA early this morning.

Concessa Kuek Augustine

As for 19-year-old Bidayuh student, Concessa Kuek Augustine, who is the second child of two siblings and also studying in Melaka, although Gawai will be celebrated under the new normal, at least she is able to return and be with her family.

“At first we thought that we would be stranded in West Malaysia until after Gawai due to the increasingly worrying situation of Covid-19.

“However, the college, Ministry of Education (MOE), Rumah Sarawak, Sarawak Volunteers, SDMC and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) managed and facilitated our return,” she said.

Joseph Nyangau

Meanwhile, the only students studying at the Penang Matriculation College, Joseph Nyangau, 19, also considered his return as a Gawai gift.

An Iban from Rh Jiram, Bintulu, and the third child of six siblings, he said being able to be with the family on Gawai even though it is celebrated under the new normal, means a lot to him and his family.

Mohd Ikmal Mohd Safuan

Mohd Ikmal Mohd Safuan, 19, from Kidurong, Bintulu, who is studying at the Johor Matriculation College, also thanked Rumah Sarawak and Sarawak Volunteers for providing food and looking after the welfare of Sarawak students in Malaya.

“Thank you also to the Malaysia Matriculation, SDMC and MAS,” said the second child of five siblings.

In total, 952 Sarawak matriculation students from Malaya and Labuan have flown back to Sarawak between May 11 and May 14 this year with this morning’s flight involving the last group.